Article by Wendy McCance
I don’t write much about having Fibromyalgia and Graves Disease. I try to live my life without thinking too much about it. I don’t want to attach a label to myself. I have found that when I have a flare up of symptoms and dwell on the disease, I actually feel worse physically and emotionally. Having said that, I would like to mention a few things that have worked well for me. Who knows, if your health isn’t optimal, maybe some of these tricks might work for you as well.
When you have an autoimmune disease, the smallest things can trigger some bad moments. Stress, a cold, not enough sleep, working long hours or having too many obligations can all do a number on you. I have found that paying attention to my body and reacting to being sore and tired as soon as possible help to make my symptoms more manageable and less drawn out.
When a person feels a headache coming on, if they take care of it right away with medicine, caffeine or rest, usually they won’t suffer through it for as long or as intensely as you would if you ignore it. That is what it is like with an autoimmune disease.
Below I have addressed some common issues I deal with. Symptoms can easily spiral out of hand if not taken care of when first noticed.
1. Sore, stiff muscles
I try not to sit or stand for too long. Staying in one position to long makes for a painful experience. Stretching each day works wonders. I have to be careful not to push myself too hard or else the problem gets worse. If I can do low impact exercising, I have the best luck. Swimming, biking, yoga, skating and walking work well for me. I will try to do any of these activities for less than an hour. Anything longer can actually make things worse.
2. Exhaustion and sore, dry eyes
When you have an autoimmune disease and get tired, it can be feel exhausting like having the flu. You just feel like you must sleep. When I feel this way, I do sleep. I have found that exhaustion is also a contributing factor to having sore, dry eyes. It’s frustrating to put responsibilities on hold for a nap, but it keeps me from feeling even worse. Exhaustion also signals that I am doing too much and must scale back my load of responsibilities.
Whenever my immune system becomes rundown, I will get bruises and what looks like psoriasis around the size of a nickel on my legs. I also have a similar problem on my ears. I have gone to the dermatologist and used several different creams. The results are minimal and tend to exasperate the problem. I have turned to natural remedies for help. coconut oil works a little, but aloe from an actual plant works wonders. I just take and cut a piece of the plant, cut it open and spread the aloe on the rash.
4. Daily maintenance
There are supplements and food choices that have been a big benefit in keeping symptoms from becoming severe. Over the last year, I would add one food or supplement at a time to see if I noticed a difference in how I felt. I have concentrated on superfoods and supplements that reduce inflammation and are high in antioxidants. I also believe that you need to stay regular to flush out the toxins that build up in your system. Because my system has moved more slowly as I have aged, this is really important to me.
List of foods I eat daily:
Wheat Germ (2 Tbs. sprinkled on yogurt or cereal)
* Wheat germ is a genius food. It contains every tons of nutrients for anti-inflammation and antioxidants plus protein and fiber. Check out the list of vitamins/minerals it contains: Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosporus, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, B vitamins, Vitamin E. Since using wheat germ, I have stopped using supplements. I feel that whenever possible, I like to avoid supplements if I can find a food that will pack the same punch.
*I would like to note, that this is just my own personal opinion. These are things that work best for me. Always check with your doctor before altering your diet and make sure that the foods and supplements do not interrupt the strength or have an adverse effect on your medication.
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To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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