Patient with Multiple Auto-Immune Syndrome Share Her Story
Knowing which foods promote inflammation and which foods typically prevent inflammation is essential.
Living with an autoimmune disease is beyond tough. Each has no known cause and no cure, so managing an autoimmune disease is a lifelong journey. You need the discipline of a soldier, the skills of a nutritionist, and the determination of a fighter. If it takes so much to live with an autoimmune disease, how much harder would it be to suffer from multiple autoimmune diseases?
Meet Christine Fermina
In the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina lives a 36 year-old high-school teacher suffering from multiple autoimmune diseases. Christine juggles lupus, psoriatic arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis. Christine opens up on just how difficult living not just with one, but four different autoimmune diseases is.
Approximately 25% of persons with autoimmune disorders have a proclivity to develop additional autoimmune diseases. Polyautoimmunity refers to those who have more than one autoimmune illness. Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome refers to a person who has three or more identified autoimmune illnesses (MAS).
“It all started for me when I was in my teens when I began to get dry skin on my head, ears, and elbows.
I had aches and pains that were bothering me since I spent the most of my leisure time doing sports, swimming, or riding my bike,” Christine said.
“I recall being informed that it was most likely a combination of "growing pains" and eczema, and that I would eventually grow out of it.”
“I truly had psoriasis, but it would be a decade after my symptoms appeared that I was diagnosed. Unfortunately, psoriasis may impact the joints and cause arthritis, which it did to me. No one really talked about autoimmune diseases so I had absolutely no idea. I just trusted that my doctor knows more than me so I left it at that,” laments Christine.
“I began college while still experiencing aches and pains. That's when I began to feel exhausted all of the time. The doctor informed me that glandular fever was common among students, that I should relax, and that it will pass.”
“But I had to quit athletics because of my exhaustion just couldn’t do it anymore. I even found studying and working part-time to be utterly tiring. Looking back, I believe I was suffering from autoimmune symptoms, but I didn't have the energy or worldliness to obtain a more correct diagnosis.”
“In my twenties, a slew of additional symptoms appeared to reside with the constant weariness, including constant coldness, losing hair, puffiness around my eyes, kidney infections, and periodic chest discomfort. Not to mention my sudden lack of coordination, flareups, and pains and aches. I was still working part-time and unable to concentrate or even get out of bed. Mornings, in particular, were bad, but a combination of a prescribed steroid, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), and an immune-suppressing drug helped me struggle through grueling days at my college.”
“Only when I had to be hospitalized because I lost consciousness from both the pain and fatigue was I diagnosed with multiple autoimmune disorders.”
Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome
Autoimmune disorders are defined by healthcare specialists as conditions that arise when the immune system, which typically defends the body from infection by battling germs and viruses, behaves improperly by attacking the body's own healthy cells.
Inflammation occurs in the joints, organs, blood vessels, tendons, skin, and other tissues.
Some disorders increase the probability of a person developing another autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune thyroiditis, Sjogren's syndrome, and other diseases fall within this category.
Because they are treated by various doctors for different reasons, some patients may be unaware that they have two or more autoimmune disorders. For example, a patient may suffer ulcerative colitis, which affects the intestines, and seek treatment from a gastroenterologist. Meanwhile, she may develop vitiligo, a skin condition, and seek treatment from a specialist. The patient may be unaware that they are both autoimmune disorders.
“I couldn’t believe it at first. How can I have so many autoimmune disorders? It didn’t seem possible. But the more I thought about it and the more I read up on it, it started to make sense. The symptoms, the changes in my body, the way I reacted to my meds, these were really so many things wrong with me and no one caught it until now.”
“My doctors, for the longest time, couldn’t get me the help I needed. All the trials and prescriptions and all the medicine, nothing worked. Sometimes it even made things so much work.”
Multiple autoimmune disorders, according to research, may be caused by family or genetic causes, as well as immunological or psychological variables. Environmental triggers, on the other hand, may put in motion the emergence of a second disease and may be the primary cause of the increased prevalence of MAS.
Nutrition and Support for MAS
“I had felt so alone. No one I know really understands what Im going through. I had to navigate managing so many disorders by myself. I had to stop sports, so I grew apart from my friends there. I can’t really go to parties so I never really made many friends in college either. And my family and friends from home are thousands of miles away so it was lonely and scary,” Christine said.
The sensation of being alone with their condition is a recurrent issue among persons living with an autoimmune disease. Many persons with chronic autoimmune disease believe that those closest to them lack comprehension of their experiences and are hesitant to learn more about their illness. This can lead to sentiments of rejection, which in turn can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
“My cousins recommended that I join Facebook groups and they really helped a lot,” Christine recounted. “Knowing that thousands also experience the same thing as me made me feel a lot better. Plus, their tips and recommendations made my life a hundred percent easier. It’s a safe place to share information and support about various autoimmune diseases. I made close friends there!”
“The absolute best tip I’ve received was to focus on my diet and nutrition. It had been a miracle for me. It wasn’t easy at first, of course, but now, its second nature.”
When asked what kind of changes and diet worked, she revealed all.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
“I started using the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. It’s been so helpful! It’s a diet that I can easily incorporate. This is one of those plans that you can so totally adapt to "real life" and with a mirage of autoimmune diseases I have, taking down the inflammation naturally is the safest yet most effective option. And its effective not only short term but in the long run as well.”
Written by Kim Hutche on June 12, 2022
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Ferdinand De Villa
An anti-inflammatory diet involves eating nutrient-rich, whole foods that reduce inflammation. It contains plenty of fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3s. This means a diet rich in vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, legumes, and fatty fish – that is as unprocessed as possible.
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It’s been a year since Christine started this anti-inflammatory diet and she’s back playing sports. With the combination of a tried prescription from her doctor and this lifestyle change, it’s as if she hasn’t had the disorders in the first place.
“I’m now in remission and I have my life back. I can’t believe it was possible. I will recommend this guide to everyone with autoimmune disease or chronic inflammation like me.”
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