Over 50 million Americans live with an autoimmune disease. This month has been designated National Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, or ADAM. There are 100+ autoimmune diseases including Crohn’s, Celiac, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyaligia and Hashimioto’s Thyroiditis.
I have both Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, so I deal with two diseases. Once you are diagnosed with one autoiummune disease, you are more likely to develop another. Women are more likely than men to be affected, an estimated 75% of the afflicted are women. And, on average, it takes 2 1/2 to 3 years for people to obtain a correct diagnosis.
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, or AARDA is the only national nonprofit health agency dedicated to bringing a comprehensive focus to autoimmunity, which is the major cause of over 100 serious chronic diseases. The organization created ADAM to bring awareness to autoimmune diseases.
As someone who deals with autoimmune disease, I just hope that people take time to understand what we might be going through. Each disease has different symptoms, but for me, I get tired more easily since having my diseases. I also get muscle soreness at times when I seemingly haven’t done anything crazy workout-wise. Brain fog, migraines as well as concentration issues are all things I deal with on and off because of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Fibromyalgia.
I never want anyone to feel sorry for me, but understand that there are times when I need to take more me time. Time to just rest, hang out at home and do a TV show marathon binge. Staying as stress-free as possible is important, so I do my best to stay calm and avoid too much stress. Obviously, that’s not always possible, but I’m learning to deal better with it. At the same time, I also work on continuing my life as “normally” as I can. I still workout 5 days a week, and of course work full-time. It’s not always easy, but I am learning to listen more to my body and the signals it gives me when I might be pushing too much.
There are many others who deal with far worse with their autoimmune disease, so I consider myself blessed. I invite you to please check out the Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month website. If you have a friend or family member with an autoimmune disease, your understanding and kindness goes a long way. Becoming educated about autoimmune diseases is releveant for everyone so that you know the risk factors, prevalence and are simply more aware. Awareness is important!