You’ve heard it a million times before—regular exercise is good for you. It can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your mental health and mood, help your body manage your blood sugars and insulin levels, and strengthen your bones and muscles. One of the most notable benefits of exercise is it can help you manage your autoimmune disorders.
What Are Autoimmune Disorders?
Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune system, which protects the body from infections and diseases, attacks your healthy cells as if they are pathogens like bacteria or viruses.
Most common autoimmune diseases:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: affects the joints
- Psoriasis: makes the skin thick and scaly
- Lupus: this disease damages areas of the body such as the joints, skin, and other organs
- Thyroid diseases like Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease
- Crohn’s disease: an inflammatory bowel disease
- Fibrosis: a lung disease that causes the organ to be scarred
- Diabetes: when the blood glucose is too high and is hard to regulate
- Multiple Sclerosis: a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system
Most people who have autoimmune diseases can go through their life being symptom-free. With the contribution of stress, the sudden onset of the symptoms shows, also called flares. Having IVIG from Ameripharma Specialty Care can immediately alleviate the symptoms of these autoimmune disorders as these intravenous immunoglobulins can replenish the anti-inflammatory antigens needed by your body.
What causes autoimmune disease?
Despite much research on autoimmune disorders, it is still unknown why people contract them. This comes down to the fact that these diseases can manifest themselves in various forms and attack many of your body tissues. Researchers suggested that these can be inherited or caused by a genetic mutation.
It can also occur in response to an environmental factor. For instance, someone may react harshly when they come in contact with or consume a particular food, specific medication, or stress.
How Does Exercise Help In Managing Your Autoimmune Symptoms?
As you all know, exercise is an all-encompassing activity that can solve many issues in the body, especially the ones with autoimmune disorders. You might ask, how does precisely can exercise help? Here are ways exercise alleviates the symptoms of autoimmune diseases:
- It Helps Reduce Inflammation
Autoimmune diseases are characterized by being inflammatory. This means that it causes inflammation and can be exacerbated by more inflammation. As bad as this situation sounds, exercise can be a potential solution.
Exercise does induce minor inflammation temporarily, but this has been shown to trigger an improvement in chronic inflammation in autoimmune disorders. Physical activities like walking, cycling, and other forms of exercise like endurance or resistance exercise can help manage your symptoms.
- It Regulates Your Immune System
Autoimmune disorders are a heterogeneous group of chronic diseases that occur because of a secondary loss of self-antigen tolerance. Research shows that exercising can decrease the production of cytokines, a type of immunoglobulin responsible for the proliferation of inflammation. These cytokines are also responsible for the swelling and pain experienced by patients who have rheumatoid arthritis.
- It Increases The Production of Certain Hormones
Exercise stimulates the release of your hormones endorphins which inhibit specific lymphocytes in the body that secrete antibodies leading to inflammation.
Other hormones that exercise triggers for release are epinephrine and norepinephrine. Once these hormones flow into the bloodstream, the body responds better with the help of T-cells.
- It Strengthens Your Nervous System
There’s a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system by attacking the myelin sheath of the nerve cells. This is called multiple sclerosis. Ultimately, if the myelin is damaged, the nerve signals are affected, which results in conduction issues. If this happens, symptoms like mobility issues, visual impairment, ataxia, and fatigue will manifest.
Exercise can help with this by reducing the production of the antigens that attack the myelin sheath of the nerves. However, lifestyle changes should be employed to retain the central nervous system reserve function for it to be more effective.
- It Regulates Your Insulin Levels
Another type of chronic autoimmune disease that affects insulin release is Type 1 diabetes mellitus. The immune system is actively killing the beta cells in the islet of Langerhans, resulting in the reduction of insulin production. Exercise can help by maintaining the sugar level in your bloodstream so the beta cells won’t be hyperactivated. This will minimize hypoglycemic episodes.
Exercise is beneficial for your body, especially if you suffer from a chronic autoimmune disease. You can find optimal results if you maintain a consistent exercise schedule per week. However, you must note that there’s a sweet spot for appropriate exercise for your body. Challenge yourself enough to get your heart rate up, but don’t push it until you trigger a flare.
Also, it would be best if you discovered an exercise that’s enjoyable for you. Pay attention to your body’s needs. Sustainability is the key. Fighting off chronic illness requires lifelong attention.
By Andrew Mathews, a fitness and health advocate. He conducts webinars and writes blogs to share his knowledge on health-related subjects.
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