Just Got Diagnosed With An Autoimmune Disease: Now What?
Updated: Jun 7
After many months or years of searching for a diagnosis, many patients comment that they feel a sense of relief or validation when they finally get diagnosed. Although this new reality will be hard to adapt to, there are steps you can take to help manage your inflammation and improve your health and well-being.
Even though there is no one concrete cure-all for autoimmune diseases, there are ways to control and prevent it from progressing if you start early.
Here are five things to do when you get an autoimmune diagnosis:
1. Re-evaluate your diet and remove trigger foods
First, patients with autoimmune diseases should avoid foods or food products that trigger a flare-up. For example, certain foods are known to increase the likelihood of flares, including foods that contain Aspartame, artificial flavors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), lectins, polyglutamine, or other food allergens. It is important to understand what foods or things trigger your own flare-ups as this is different for every person. Overall, increasing plants, whole foods, and lean proteins in your diet is important. You can track your foods in a food diary to see how these impact your inflammation over time. Aila Health lets you work with a dietician to customize your nutrition plan.
2. Regular exercise or physical activity can help reduce symptoms of inflammation
If you are able to, consider adding more movement into your daily routine to help relieve some of the stress you're experiencing from a new diagnosis. In some cases, increased mobility can also reduce inflammation. Thus, physical activity supports our bodies' healthy regulation and helps reduce the symptoms of many different conditions. As always, Consult with your doctor to keep track of your steps and track your energy levels to see what improves over time and find out what will work best for your personal situation.
3. Drugs or biologics you take to manage your autoimmune disease may be expensive
Living with an autoimmune disease can be expensive. Try to leverage tools like co-pay coupons from pharmaceutical companies and patient assistance programs to help manage costs. Check with your insurance company to find out what is covered to avoid any surprise costs during your visits.
4. Living with a chronic autoimmune disease can impact your mental health
Living with an autoimmune disease can be isolating and affect your mental health. Many patients living with autoimmune diseases also report suffering from anxiety or depression. For patients struggling with mental health issues in addition to their disease, it's best to seek advice from a doctor or licensed mental health professional. You can also try complementary practices like mindfulness and breathwork training to calm the autonomic nervous system and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Joining a community of other patients who can understand what you are going through can also support your emotional health.
Join our community of autoimmune warriors by downloading the Aila Health app and signing up for your community.
5. Keep track of all relevant health information in one place
Finally, it is crucial to document all of your symptoms and health history so you can better work with your care team. You should keep a log and track the above health information, including food, exercise, symptoms, inflammation, medications, doctor appointments, mental health, mood, and sleep to really get a full picture of your health and what your body uniquely responds to. You can use a number of apps to track various elements of your health. If you want to see how your data is trending over time, download the Aila Health app and start tracking your autoimmune symptoms today.