9 Common But Often Overlooked Symptoms of Autoimmune Disorders
This Nutrition Bite looks at 9 very common but very often overlooked symptoms that could actually indicate some kind of autoimmune disorder.
Take a look so you can spot the signs early, and also support your efforts in natural ways.
The human body is a marvel of biological engineering. But sometimes, its defense mechanisms can go awry, mistakenly attacking its tissues and organs. This is the basic premise behind autoimmune disorders, conditions where the body’s immune system attacks its cells.
With over 80 different types of autoimmune disorders, the range of symptoms can vary widely.
However, there are certain signs that are commonly experienced but often overlooked. Recognizing these can be key to early diagnosis and management.
It’s easy to dismiss feeling perpetually tired as a result of a busy lifestyle or stress. However, chronic fatigue is a significant symptom of many autoimmune disorders, including Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and Multiple sclerosis.
2. Joint Pain and Stiffness
Often misattributed to aging or over-exertion, joint pain can be an early sign of conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, and SLE.
3. Muscle Weakness or Pain
What might seem like overworked muscles or aging could be indicative of Polymyositis or Dermatomyositis.
4. Digestive Issues
Diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain can be misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal disorders. Many stomach upsets might seem ordinary but can indicate conditions like Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, or Celiac disease.
5. Skin Problems
Issues like rashes and blisters might be brushed off as allergies or even diagnosed as eczema, but can signal disorders like SLE, Dermatomyositis, or Vitiligo.
6. Low-Grade Fever
This can be easily dismissed as being due to minor infections but persistently elevated body temperature can be a symptom of diseases like SLE or Rheumatoid arthritis.
7. Weight Changes
Weight changes (either loss or gain) can be misattributed to dietary or lifestyle changes but these fluctuations can actually be a sign of conditions affecting the thyroid, such as Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
8. Difficulty Concentrating
Often mislabeled as “brain fog” and attributed to stress, fatigue or lifestyle, cognitive challenges can indicate disorders like SLE or Sjögren’s syndrome.
9. Numbness or Tingling
Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet is often overlooked or attributed to sitting or standing in one position for too long, but this seemingly benign symptom can be associated with Multiple sclerosis or SLE.
The Hidden Numbers Behind Autoimmune Disorders
It’s estimated that nearly 24 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases. Shockingly, many remain undiagnosed due to the subtlety of their symptoms. This number becomes more alarming when considering global statistics.
The Vegan Vulnerability
While a vegan diet offers numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of chronic diseases, it can sometimes lead to nutritional deficiencies if not properly planned.
For instance, B12 deficiency is more prevalent in vegans, which is also a symptom of Pernicious anemia, an autoimmune condition.
It’s essential for individuals on a vegan diet to be vigilant about their nutrient intake to ensure they aren’t mistakenly attributing symptoms of potential autoimmune disorders to dietary deficiencies. (Check out our Nutrition Mastery Course if you want to always know what to eat and how!)
Discover Natural Healing
Interested in diving deeper into natural remedies and strategies for combating autoimmune diseases?
Explore the brand new digital guide from our dear friend Jonathan Otto, “Natural Medicines for Autoimmune Wellness“, which delves into dozens of holistic ways to support, prevent, or even reverse autoimmune conditions.