Helping a Loved One Through the Challenges of an Autoimmune Disease

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Helping a Loved One Through the Challenges of an Autoimmune Disease

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Autoimmune diseases impact at least 50 million Americans according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. As of now, more than 80 chronic illnesses are considered autoimmune, and the number keeps rising.

If you have a loved one who lives with an autoimmune disease, there are practical ways to help them lead a higher quality of life. You may not understand completely what they’re going through each day, but you can learn about their condition and take simple steps to support them.

Creating a Healthy Home 

Your loved one’s living environment will play a critical role and their overall health and well-being. A dirty and cluttered home will increase stress and could even exacerbate symptoms of their autoimmune disease.

Think of ways that you can promote peace and positive energy, and help your loved one improve their environment. Kicking the clutter out is an excellent start, and, as Elemental.Green points out, adding more natural light and air-purifying houseplants can also boost energy.

Carving Out a Home Office     

If your loved one works from home, you could help them create a home office that allows them to work productively and comfortably. It can be challenging to maintain a steady schedule when working from home, and without good planning, the stress can quickly mount. Help your loved one evaluate their home to see where they could fit a home office that helps them to minimize distractions and stay on task. If they already have an office set up, look for ways to improve it.

For example, maybe you could add LED task lighting to help reduce eyestrain and boost concentration. Or, maybe you could help your loved one choose the right productivity tools so that they can work faster and more efficiently. Moreover, make sure they have ergonomic furniture and equipment to keep them healthy on long workdays.

Eating a Nutritious Diet        

Many people living with an autoimmune disease deal with inflammation, and it's often because of their diet. If your loved one does not eat a strategic diet, learn what foods could help their digestive tract and reduce inflammation. For example, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, turmeric, and berries are all proven to minimize inflammation. Plus, they can improve your overall health.

Sleeping Well

Sleeping eight hours a night is critical when you live with an autoimmune disease. Poor sleep can do a number on your health by damaging your metabolism, increasing unhealthy cravings, and harming concentration and self-awareness.

Of course, the autoimmune disease itself could make it challenging to acquire adequate sleep. Look for relaxing activities your loved one can do at night to wind down and get the rest they need. 

Insomnia is often untreated, and there are different types (difficulty initiating sleep or maintaining sleep).  Insomnia can be treated by different types of light therapy (with more or less blue light early or late in a person’s day depending on the type of insomnia the person has).

Exercising Regularly       

Exercising consistently can do wonders for reducing inflammation in the body. This doesn't mean you need to invest in expensive gym equipment or memberships. Simply remind your loved one to move their body throughout the day, even if it's taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking a bit further away. You could even go for daily walks or jogs with them to keep each other company and fit!

Increase Your Health-Based Knowledge: Get an Online Degree

One way to be even more informed about autoimmune diseases and other health-related matters, you can even get a formal education to boost your own knowledge, which in turn can be used to help your loved one. Pursuing a nursing degree could give you a deeper understanding of what ails them and how to best treat their condition. The online option for getting a bachelor’s or master’s in nursing is convenient (you can complete coursework wherever you have an internet connection) and affordable (tuition at traditional brick-and-mortar campuses is often much more expensive). Completing your degree from home could also assist you help your loved one as needed.

If you have a close friend or family member who has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, you can make a significant impact on their life by taking practical steps to support their health and well-being. Keep the tips above in mind as you come up with a plan – including creating a healthy home, eating right, exercising, and even getting a nursing degree – and keep looking for other ways to help your loved one through the challenges they face. Not only will you help them lead happier, more fulfilling lives, but it can take your relationship to a deeper place!

An aside from While some sources disagree with formal education helping a student learn, some careers legally require formal education.  The rigor and costs of the academia may far outweigh the benefits.

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