If you suffer from an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, or multiple sclerosis you well known the signs of a flare up. You might feel extraordinarily tired, perhaps your digestion is affected, or you may experience an onset or increase of pain.
While you may not wish these symptoms on your worst enemy, you can take a small amount of comfort in knowing that you are not alone. In fact, as many as 50 million Americans are reported to have an autoimmune disease — that’s a whopping 20% of the population! While women are more likely to be affected than men, anyone at any time may show signs of an autoimmune disease.
What you really want to know is how to avoid a flare up. Or perhaps you’re wondering how you can support your loved one in a way that will reduce his or her symptoms. So let’s get right to it!
Avoiding Autoimmune Flareups
While the causes of flareups are varied from condition to condition and from person to person, there are some common triggers.
Perhaps you’ve been tested for celiac and the results were negative. So you go on your merry way, grateful that you can still enjoy your morning bagel. Not so fast!
The truth is that you may still be intolerant to this protein, even if your tests have come back negative. The good news is that it is very easy to find out if this is the case, and it won’t cost you a thing in copays. Simply eliminate gluten from your diet for 30 days and see if you experience a reduction in symptoms. Many find that their pain level is greatly reduced when they begin avoiding gluten.
2. Good and Bad Stress
We all know that the bad kind of stress is at the root of many health problems. However, for those suffering with autoimmune disorders, even good stress needs to be limited. What does this mean for you?
Ordinarily, going for a jog, although strenuous or stressful to the body, is a good thing. Pushing your body and mind increases your tolerance to exercise and has many positive benefits. However, if you have an autoimmune disease, your tolerance for any kind of stress is diminished. You must monitor your energy and resources and use them accordingly. This often requires some experimentation, and you don’t want to avoid activity altogether. Finding your personal balance is crucial to managing your illness.
Sugar is known to create inflammation and compromise your immune system. Be careful not to make the mistake of thinking that other sweeteners are an acceptable alternative. Aspartame, turbinado sugar, agave nectar, and other sweeteners labeled as “organic” or “natural” will still cause inflammation.
The goal is to eliminate any kind of sweetener since it will interfere with your immune system.
While some can tolerate dairy, many find that it triggers a flareup. You can experiment with dairy much the same as you would with gluten. Eliminate all foods that include dairy, including casein and whey, and see if you feel a reduction in symptoms after 30 days.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, occurs when bacteria from the large intestine migrate to the small intestine. You may experience gas or bloating, and you may not be able to absorb nutrients properly — a critical aspect of managing any disease.
If you suspect this is the case, ask your health care practitioner to administer the breath test for SIBO. Prescription medications as well as natural alternatives can be used to eliminate the overgrowth of bacteria. Enteric coated peppermint has been shown to be effective in combatting SIBO since it dissolves in the small intestine.
6. Gluten-Free Grains
Some who have decided to avoid gluten make the tragic mistake of overdoing it on other grains. Starchy foods such as white rice, oats, and corn may have the same effect as gluten, especially if you are suffering from SIBO. Follow a low-glycemic diet that includes plenty of vegetables, grass-fed meats, some nuts, and some fruits to see if your symptoms subside.
Dealing with the Root of Your Autoimmune Issues
Living with an autoimmune disease is no picnic, but remember: you can live with your autoimmune disease. Learn how to manage your symptoms so that you can really enjoy the things that you want to do!
One key to managing autoimmune disease is understanding the role that inflammation plays in your illness. Check out our recent guide to Fight Chronic Inflammation Naturally. Inside, you’ll learn more about what chronic inflammation is, common causes, and what to eat to keep it under control. Download your free copy now!