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Only People With Autoimmune Diseases Can Relate to These 5 Things

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Only People With Autoimmune Diseases Can Relate to These 5 Things

According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, at least 50 million Americans alone suffer from a range of illnesses where their own immune system attacks healthy cells within their body. Medical professionals are just beginning to understand the scope and effects of each subcategory. There are as many as 80 types, with some common ones being lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and type 1 diabetes. For decades, celebrities have been shedding light on their own struggles with these illnesses in hopes of bringing more attention to finding a cure — from Lady Gaga who suffers from lupus to Jack Osbourne, who has been diagnosed with MS.

Read on for a few misconceptions about autoimmune diseases that need to be cleared up.

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They are not allergic reactions

It is incorrect to classify autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease simply as allergies. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the consumption of gluten leads to serious damage throughout the small intestine. Having a gluten-sensitivity is a common allergy, but being diagnosed with celiac disease is a lot more complicated. One of the biggest differences is that with celiac the smallest trace of gluten can send your body into an severe autoimmune response that can lead to nutritional deficiencies, intestinal damage and even being at risk for certain types of gastrointestinal cancers.

They can take years to diagnose

Autoimmune diseases are difficult to diagnose because in most cases there is not a singular test that will determine a diagnosis. Often times, there are a lot of incorrect diagnoses before a patient is finally told that they do in fact have an autoimmune disease. Another reason it takes so long to properly diagnose these diseases is that depending on the illness, some symptoms may come and go. Variance in diet and lifestyle factors (including stress) can also greatly influence an individual who is suffering from an autoimmune disease.

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They do not include chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia

These two illness should not be confused as being autoimmune diseases, even through they share many similar symptoms. Medical professionals understand even less about these two, but realize it is possible for individuals suffering from either illness to also have associated autoimmune illnesses. Some similar symptoms can include constant fatigue, muscle pain and constant headaches.

They can be reversed

Contrary to popular belief, some autoimmune diseases can be cured with the proper diet and lifestyle changes. It is true that autoimmune diseases are genetic, but they need an environmental factor or a change in lifestyle to trigger that gene to react. One of the biggest healing factors is focusing on intestinal health, since that is where 80 percent of the immune system cells are. Focusing on healing the gut with probiotics, finding ways to cope with stress and eating a well-balanced diet that contains as few toxins as possible are all ways that can help reverse some autoimmune diseases.

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They can only be treated with conventional medicine

One of the biggest misconceptions about autoimmune diseases is that only pills will help with the symptoms. The problem with taking prescribed medication is that there can be major side effects that result — for example, using chemotherapy drugs to treat lupus. While some pills are necessary to treat certain autoimmune diseases, other natural alternatives are worth looking into. Certain restrictive diets like the Whole30, which eliminates any sugar, alcohol, grains and legumes from the diet for a month is one way to see how drastically altering your diet can help reverse an autoimmune disease without any negative side effects.

The role of Eastern medicine, like acupuncture or Chinese herbs, can also be worth trying out to see if it has a positive effect on the illnesses.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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