Could It Be Possible I Started All This?
This is my story about my family history and how my genes have played a part in this story. I have had psoriasis for almost 55 years now and psoriatic arthritis for 25 years. I have never thought for one moment that if my having psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis started with me.
I have had an autoimmune disease since the tender age of 5. It wasn’t until the past few years that I began to look at autoimmune diseases that my family is being diagnosed with. The question I ask myself is- "could it be that my family members share the same gene that lies in me?"
A look at lineage
We already know that some diseases can be traced down from generation to generation. For example; diabetes runs in my family on my mother's side. We know that if prior family members have had heart disease or cancer this can run in the family. I really had to put on my thinking cap for this one.
I began to do my own research and I came across some very interesting things. I would like to share my findings because it is so important to know if your disease is a generational disease or are they all connected with the same genes? I think it is so very important to know our family history concerning our health. Knowing family history can help answer so many questions we have later in life with other family members.
My niece was just diagnosed with Sjogren’s disease. She is 30 years old. I had never heard of this, but when I did some research I found out it was an autoimmune disease. My other niece has Lupus, she is 16. My middle sister has rheumatoid arthritis and I have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Inflammation is the connection
What do these diseases have in common? All these diseases attack the healthy cells in our body. I am finding out that there are well over 80 autoimmune diseases. One of the main culprits of the autoimmune disease is inflammation. All of these diseases mentioned have inflammation in common. I know with my arthritis, there is a lot of inflammation involved. I was really surprised to find these autoimmune diseases in my family.
I find the root word for autoimmune is auto which means ‘self-attack”. I was the original one as far back as I can remember. I started the first autoimmune disease in the family..or did I? What is an autoimmune disease? The immune system disorders cause abnormally low activity or over-activity of the immune system. Immune deficiency diseases decrease the body’s ability to fight invaders.
Is it in the family genes?
Psoriasis is a chronic disease of the skin. There is no cure but it can be treated. Researchers are making great strides in autoimmune diseases. They’re constantly looking at genetics, family’s past history to compare these diseases. The other comparison that I discovered about the above autoimmune diseases is that there are different levels of these diseases, such as mild, moderate or a severe case.
Once again after all of my reading and researching; could I be the one who originally had the gene? Was it passed down through the bloodline? Are these diseases connected? One thing is for certain, they all have something to do with the autoimmune system. I’m thankful for the scientists and all they continue to do as far as research goes. One day we will all know for 100 percent if they are connected. Since I am the elder to the other family members. I could have been the first one to start this autoimmune disease and it has trickled down through the genes to them. I found this to be very interesting since my niece is newly diagnosed with Sjogrens. If given the opportunity a study would be very beneficial to see the connection between these autoimmune diseases.
Tips for living with an autoimmune condition
There are things you can do to help with your condition. Have you tried eating anti-inflammatory foods such as fish, berries, and dark leafy vegetables? These foods will help fix your gut. Try to stay away from refined foods and inflammatory oils.
My doctor had me start taking fish oil, vitamin D a few years ago. She said these would help my immune system calm down naturally.
You should exercise regularly. Regular exercise is a natural anti-inflammatory. You don’t have to go to the gym, run on a treadmill, and pump iron to stay in shape. Just start moving more. Relax more. Stress is not good for us.
And lastly, get plenty of sleep every night. Lack of sleep or poor sleep damages your metabolism and can cause cravings for sugar and carbs which can make you eat more and drives up your risk of numerous other conditions such as diabetes to other autoimmune diseases.
If we all left our bodies to science at the end, it may tell the truth to this puzzling question. Did we start this?
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