Do you have worsening fatigue, headache, migraines, brain fog, problems with mood and concentration, physical pain, or unsteadiness? Maybe you have some mild elevation of autoantibodies, but not enough for doctors to come up with a diagnosis?
All of these issues can be part of a prodrome for developing any of the hundreds of autoimmune conditions. Often the antibodies for an autoimmune condition are present anywhere from 3- 13 years before diagnosis!
You do not have to watch and wait – you can stop your body from damaging your cells now. Here are the top five things you can do right now.
1. KNOW YOUR VITAMIN D LEVEL
Having your vitamin D level in the top half of the reference range is correlated with fewer symptoms in many autoimmune diseases. You can use your skin to make more vitamin D or take vitamin D supplements. If you take supplements, be sure to monitor your levels through regular testing.
2. IMPROVE SLEEP
Sleep disorders are associated with higher risk for developing autoimmune issues. Go to bed at a consistent time and wake up at a consistent time. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
3. TRY A GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE DIET
Consider a trial of a gluten-free and dairy-free diet to see what effect that has on your symptoms. Go at least 4 weeks without gluten and dairy to see if your symptoms lessen or change.
4. IMPROVE NUTRITION
Diet quality is linked with the severity of disability and quality of life in autoimmune conditions (& in general!). Begin cooking meals at home, eat more non-starchy vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, and talk to your nutritionist for more tips!
5. REDUCE SITTING TIME AND MOVE MORE
Lower rates of activity increase the risk of autoimmunity, dementia, and are a risk factor for disease severity. Physical activity stimulates your muscles as well as the brain and can improve mood and contribute to better sleep. Tailor your activity level to your energy level—any movement is better than none.
Even if you do not have a specific autoimmune diagnosis, having any of these prodrome symptoms suggests you are at higher risk of an autoimmune diagnosis.
Following these steps often reduces fatigue, migraines, headaches, and brain fog and improves mood. There is so much you can do right now to improve your health and prevent decline.
Inspiration & research thanks to Dr. Terry Wahls M.D.