Should You Be Tested for An Autoimmune Disease? 5 Questions to Find Out.
Imagine losing 10 pounds in less than a week. For some that may sound like a miracle, but for me it was almost deadly. I only weighed in at about 105 pounds and definitely wasn’t on a weight loss mission. In fact, my weight was uncontrollable. My body wasn’t absorbing any of the vitamins or nutrients that I was eating, and I didn’t know why. Unbearable migraines were something that I was starting to live with in a daily basis. I knew something was wrong, but the doctors couldn’t figure it out.
Eventually putting together the seemingly unrelated clues, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that affects your gut function, immune system and your nervous system.
1. Do you have a family member or spouse with celiac disease?
Research out of the American Gastroenterological Association shows first-degree relatives and spouses of patients with celiac disease are at increased risk of non-celiac autoimmune disease. But the risks get even higher for the same autoimmune disease. According to the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness up to 22% of celiac patients have an immediate family member who also has celiac due to genetics.
After my mom’s Celiac Disease diagnosis and looking at a history of lupus in my family, I was able to talk to my doctor about these conditions and get my own diagnosis. While Celiac Disease was already present, luckily the presence of lupus was still inactive in my body.
2. Have you struggled with fertility issues?
Autoimmune diseases are known to attack the connective tissue in your body which bounds tissues and organs together as well as the nerves, muscles, endocrine system, and gastrointestinal system.
While those that are already diagnosed and in the healing stage are less likely to have infertility issues, according to a study from the International Journal of Endocrinology, 52% of women with Graves' disease and 47% of those with Hashimoto's thyroiditis experienced infertility.
3. Do you feel the best at a certain time of day?
I’m not talking about being an early bird or an night owl here. When it comes to dealing with an autoimmune disease, you’re going from your highest highs to your lowest lows on a daily basis. The time of day varies by autoimmune disease. If you wake up feeling great then develop stomach pain, belly bloating or nausea as the day progresses, you could have an autoimmune triggered by foods like gluten, dairy or soy. If you wake up with unbearable stiffness and pain, your autoimmune could be routed in arthritis and your joints.
Personally, the morning has always been the best time of day. I would wake up feeling great, then my health with fade quickly after breakfast. I had to do everything in my power to keep my body functioning after lunch that fueled a severe coffee addiction. After diagnosis and the switch to a gluten free diet, I had much more energy and clarity throughout the day.
4. Are you losing a lot of hair in the shower?
For women it’s common to lose some hair in the shower and it’s pretty normal. It not longer becomes normal when you’re losing hair by the handfuls. Many autoimmune diseases can trigger hair loss including alopecia areata, lupus and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
5. Do you have poor memory, slow recall skills or lack of reasoning?
Life with an undiagnosed autoimmune can start to feel like an out-of-body experience. Your body continues to function, but you almost feel like you’re living life through a self-guided body instead of having control of its functioning. Loss of intellectual function like thinking, remembering, and reasoning is associated with cognitive dysfunction or better known as brain fog. Brain fog interferes with your verbal recall, basic adding and subtracting, and mental acuity.
I remember how scared I was when the brain fog started happening for me. Even with two masters degrees and several certifications, I couldn’t even form a logical sentence when I spoke.
I know from my own Celiac Disease diagnosis how scary it can be to not understand what is going on with your body or why you suffer from chronic bronchitis, constant stomach pain or daily fatigue. If you’re dealing with any of these issues, contact your physician and ask to be tested because a diagnosis, treatment plan and an understanding of foods that support your body can help bring you back to a life of wellness again.
As a Personal Fitness Chef and Mind Body Fitness coach I work specifically with those diagnosed with an autoimmune to discover exactly what foods fuel them to speed up their recovery and how to ditch those that are wreaking havoc on their system and building inflammation, belly bloat and unwanted side effects of their disease. Find out if we're a fit to work together for a better state of wellness with a free 30-minute wellness consult. Click here to schedule yours now.