Saturday, April 19, 2008

Misdirected Immune Systems are more common that I realized

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, so I was very interested when a friend sent me information about the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.
They have a page that lists over 80 (yes, eighty) immune system related diseases. What an eye opener it was!
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association is dedicated to the eradication of autoimmune diseases and the alleviation of suffering and the socioeconomic impact of autoimmunity through fostering and facilitating collaboration in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services in an effective, ethical and efficient manner.
What surprised me (it shouldn’t have) was that FATIGUE is a common thread among these diseases. It is ‘comforting’ to have another organization tell me that my fatigue is not all in my head (well, actually it is if you look at my brain MRI…). It is simply a real problem that requires real attention and coping strategies. I continue to beat myself up as being lazy when I’m tired, and this web site made me feel better.
Fatigue may accompany many of the autoimmune diseases. Learning how to pace your activity level can put you in control of your illness. It is important to listen to your body and stop before you feel you are tired. Pacing your activity can help you sustain a relatively normal and consistent energy level. Patients often feel guilty if they slow their pace and therefore rest only when they are not feeling well or are very tired. This forced rest period can last a few days and patients then try to "catch up" and accomplish all they were unable to do during the time they were resting.

The cycle of high activity and prolonged rest periods can interfere with managing of the disease process and, with some autoimmune diseases, create a need for more medication to control the constitutional symptoms that accompany those illnesses. By learning to spread out your work load, you will be able to accomplish as much while feeling better both physically and emotionally.

Check them out at http://www.aarda.org/

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