An autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy parts of your own body. Treatment for autoimmune diseases focuses on managing symptoms and preventing illness. It’s essential to work in close partnership with your doctor and other health care providers to develop and follow a treatment plan to prevent illness, promote health, and ensure a full, active life.
Genetics, infections, and environmental factors are all thought to play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases, which in general affect more women than men.
There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Type 1 diabetes, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Depending on your diagnosis, autoimmune diseases can strike almost any organ in your body and can affect your mental health as well as your physical health.
Relieving symptoms caused by autoimmune disease may call for a wide range of medications.
Analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen can help with mild pain. Your doctor may prescribe potent painkillers if you need them. Other types of prescription medicine help you deal with any swelling or rashes caused by the specific autoimmune disease you have.
- Mental Health Medications
Your doctor may prescribe specific medicines that help relieve any symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, or fatigue, all of which are commonly associated with chronic autoimmune disease.
- Immune Response Reduction Medications
Some medications help reduce your immune system’s response. These medications can help keep an autoimmune disease in check and can prevent further damage to organs and tissues.
- There’s a delicate balance between reining in your immune system and leaving you vulnerable to infections or other diseases, so working closely with your doctor to develop a comprehensive treatment plan is essential.
Lifestyle Changes and Treatments
Because autoimmune diseases can involve all aspects of your life, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you control symptom flare-ups. Together, you and your doctor can isolate and identify specific triggers or stressors.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent illness if you have an autoimmune condition:
Avoid overexertion and get enough sleep. Rest and sleep are both essential in the body’s reparative process.
Meditation, including mindfulness, guided imagery, and working with a counselor or joining a support group can be helpful.
Eating regular, well-balanced meals full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will keep your body fueled with the antioxidants and nutrients you need to heal and maintain your body systems.
Exercise – In Moderation
Yoga and low-impact exercise such as water aerobics may be helpful. Intense or extreme exertion may exacerbate inflammatory response and symptom flare-ups.
If you have questions about living with an autoimmune disease, contact us any time. The physicians at Rockville Concierge Doctors provide personalized, patient-centered care for acute and chronic conditions, as well as preventive care for individuals throughout their lives, from young adulthood to middle age to their senior years.