For seventeen years I was living with an auto immune disease and didn't even know it. I was consistently misdiagnosed with eczema, atopic dermatitis, hives, and allergies. I suffered the most painful flare ups for all those years. Three years ago I was finally accurately diagnosed with Cutaneous Lupus. It is an autoimmune disease that is hereditary and causes my immune system to attack healthy tissue in my skin. There is no cure for Cutaneous Lupus, but I am committed to trying all kinds of alternative therapies and a healthy lifestyle to lessen its impact on my life and reduce flare ups. Aside from regular doctor's visits and taking my medication, there are 3 main things I do to address my autoimmune disease:
Living an active lifestyle is essential for dealing with any autoimmune disease. The stronger my body is, the better I can make it through a flare up. I can never control how severe a flare will be but I have noticed that when my body is healthy and strong I get over the flare up much faster once it ends.
Getting a regular 8 hours of sleep is also essential when living with an autoimmune disease. Cutaneous Lupus causes chronic inflammation inside the body. Cutaneous Lupus not only effects my skin, but also causes chronic inflammation in my joints-- making it hard sometimes to just open a bottle of water. Getting adequate sleep helps to lessen inflammation and is so important to my routine.
There are many foods that trigger flares for me. Particularly, nightshades (i.e. tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, etc.) and foods that cause inflammation. As a foodie it is hard to follow a very strict diet, but I am very aware of what I eat.
Since I was accurately diagnosed, the skin manifestations of Cutaneous Lupus are no where near as bad as they used to be. However, the joint pain is something that I still struggle with regularly. I am always looking for new ways to reduce inflammation in my body. One of my goals this year is to finally follow the autoimmune protocol.
Are you living with an autoimmune disease? How do you overcome the challenges related to it?