Living with an Autoimmune Disease

I've just spent the last 3 days with my mumma bear listening to some amazing speakers at the Bioceuitcals Symposium, all about autoimmune diseases. These speakers included Dr Amy Myers, Dr Terry Wahls and more. 

Leading up to this seminar I was excited. I was excited because I knew I would benefit both professionally and personally. I don't speak about it much anymore because it certainly doesn't control my life, but I was diagnosed with Hashimotos (an autoimmune disease) 6 years ago (aged 25) and to be honest my mum and I were never convinced of my diagnoses. Despite having this confirmed by two different specialists, numerous doctors and a Naturopath haha. There was several reasons we questioned this diagnoses but after the weekend we have had all of our doubts answered and I think we can now be content with this.

Some important take aways:

  1. Leaky gut and environmental factors make up for 75% of the cause of autoimmunity. 
  2. Most autoimmune conditions go undiagnosed for up to 5 years. This is a long time to be living with some of the symptoms that come with these conditions. 
  3. Depending on what stage your autoimmune disease was picked up in, will determine whether or not you need medication. If you do need medication it is not a failure and you can still live a great life. 
  4. Autoimmunity is 7-8 times more common in women however it does effect men and children also. A case was presented over the weekend with a 6month old baby having an autoimmune condition. CRAZY!
  5. C-section babies have a higher incidence of autoimmune. Although this can be a lifesaving procedure, it's good to be aware and find other ways to inoculate babies with beneficial bacteria.
  6. If you have one autoimmune condition you are more susceptible to other autoimmune conditions as well. It's not uncommon for people to have up to 3 autoimmune conditions over time.
  7. You need to work out the triggers for your condition. You will go through stages where you creep back up the scale of inflammation and need to try and climb your way back down again. This is made easier by knowing these triggers.

 

After hearing this I can say for me my diagnoses was obviously picked up in the early stages, so I was lucky enough to be able to heal medication free. But not everyone can do this and that's ok. We also learnt how much the gut plays a large part in autoimmune conditions, looking back this is where my troubles began. 

For 6 months prior to my diagnoses I was having all sorts of gut issues. From extreme bloating, to cramps where I couldn't move from the fetal position for hours and hours. My bowel movements would change drastically from one day to the next and so on. After having multiple tests done, I received the all clear. However now knowing what we know we believe I had leaky gut or SIBO and this was the initial trigger to my autoimmune diagnoses. Although I healed myself through the power of food it is important to find your triggers. Not only is my gut health a trigger for me, but so is stress. 

Last year I had a lot of long term stress in my life and it ended up throwing my thyroid levels out of whack completely. For 6 months of last year I was sick again. I did what I needed to do to get by, but said no to a lot of commitments. I ended up with chronic fatigue, spending days at a time in bed. My body was to sore and tired to exercise and my brain was switched off and foggy a lot of the time. This was the first time in 6 years my Hashimotos had flared up. As a result I now have some lingering changes (symptoms) that I have excepted and will continue to overcome. Sleep has always been important to me but I could happily run off 6 - 7hrs sleep per night. Since my latest flare I now need a minimum 10hrs sleep a night to function as well as I would like. And I am very conscious about listening to my body in terms of training, although it can be a good stress it's still a stress. Prior to my flare I was weight training 6-7 days a week, because I loved it. Now I am lucky to get away with 3 sessions a week. My body simply gets too tired if I push.

So know it's ok to:

  • Need more sleep than the average person.
  • When you are at the lower end of the inflammation spectrum, you can live life a little more freely in terms of your diet. However gluten free for life is recommended.
  • De stress in ways that resinate with you. Take long baths, head out in nature, read a book.
  • Eat a good quality chocolate (in moderation of course) because the cacao helps build up resistance and fights fatigue. Ladies I thought you'd like that on! 
  • Listen to your body and run with that. If you don't feel like doing, eating, or exercise than don't.

 

I have so much more information to share over time, but for now I hope this has helped you in some way. I know I have certainly gained clarity into autoimmune conditions and am looking forward to helping people live their best lives with their conditions.

S xx

For more information or help overcoming or living your best life with an autoimmune condition click here

My initial consultation involves an in-depth look into your history and condition. This will go from up to an hour. It is then followed with a plan on the best way to move forward from a nutritional and lifestyle perspective based on your personal experience.