Living With Autoimmune Diseases

People who are living with autoimmune diseases may find that they are suffering from problems, such as self-esteem, caring for themselves, family relationships, sexual relationships, pregnancy, and childbearing. It is important for patients who are living with autoimmune diseases to learn as much as they can about their autoimmune disease and to share what they learn with their family.

Living With Autoimmune Diseases: An Overview

Living with an autoimmune disease can affect almost every part of your life, such as:
  • Self-esteem
  • Caring for yourself
  • Family relationships
  • Sexual relationships
  • Pregnancy and childbearing.


Depending on your autoimmune disease, you may have discolored skin, damaged skin, hair loss, or your joints may look different. Although these problems cannot always be prevented, they can affect your self-esteem. However, their effects can be reduced with autoimmune disease treatment, such as cosmetics, which can hide a skin rash, or surgery, which can correct a malformed joint.

Caring for Yourself

For those with autoimmune disorders, painful joints or weak muscles can make it hard to do simple tasks. Patients may have trouble climbing stairs, making their bed, or brushing their hair. Patients should talk with a physical therapist who can teach them exercises to improve strength and function.

Family Relationships

If you have an autoimmune disorder, family members may:
  • Not understand why you don't have energy to do things you used to do
  • Think you are just being lazy
  • Be overly concerned and eager to help you
  • Not let you do the things you can do
  • Give up their own interests to be with you.
Patients who are living with myasthenia should learn as much as they can about their autoimmune disease and share what they learn with their family. Counseling or a support group may also help family members to better understand the disease and how they can help.
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