As a way to help women better manage your health, WebMD put together a list of Women's Top 5 Health Concerns outlining symptoms and possible treatments for each condition listed. One of the top health concerns listed includes autoimmune disease, an illness more and more women are being diagnosed with but also one that remains highly misunderstood.
What is Autoimmune Disease?
It is common knowledge that the immune system is designed to keep the body healthy by protecting it from disease-causing organisms. A healthy immune system helps to keep the body free from all kinds of sickness ranging from the common cold to more complicated illnesses. When the body has an autoimmune disease, the immune system begins to think that healthy cells are foreign and as a result begins to attack those healthy cells.
There are more than 80 chronic illnesses that fall under the category of autoimmune diseases. Some of the more common ones include:
Type 1 diabetes
Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune disease baffles many medical experts who admit they don't know what causes the body to attack itself instead of protecting itself. Some say environmental, genetic and hormonal factors may play a large part. Another problem with autoimmune disease is that the symptoms vary from person to person which makes the illness extremely difficult to diagnose.
It is not uncommon for women who have autoimmune disease symptoms to make multiple trips to the doctor, sometimes to no avail. For those who are in an unfamiliar location and need help finding a doctor for a flare up of symptoms, they can go to HoursMap to find locations and hours of medical professionals.
Some of the more common symptoms of autoimmune disease may include:
Joint or muscle pain
Dry eyes, mouth or skin
Numbness in hands or feet
Cures for Autoimmune Diseases
Unfortunately, while some autoimmune diseases can go away, for most there is no cure. Medical experts can only suggest ways for women to best manage their symptoms. This can include anything from medication to seeking complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) such as chiropractic care or drinking herbal teas.
According to Women'sHealth.gov, some of the best ways to manage symptoms include:
Eating healthy well-balanced meals
Getting plenty of rest
Participating in physical activity
Dr. Mark Hyman also has these tips in trying to diagnose and treat autoimmune disease:
Check for hidden infections
Get tested for celiac disease
Practice relaxation techniques
Use nutrients like fish oil and probiotics
It can be challenging living a life with an autoimmune disease, and even though there is much cause for concern, it is still possible to live a rich and rewarding life.