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Living with Immune Disorders – Information
Living with an immune disorder requires special attention to circumstances that increase the risk for INFECTION. IMMUNE DISORDERS increase susceptibility to infection either as a direct result of the disease process or, in AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS, as a consequence of the medications necessary to keep symptoms in check. The most important factor for controlling the symptoms of immune disorders is taking medications as prescribed. Immune function is complex, and often the therapeutic approach combines different kinds of medications to achieve an overall balance to the best extent possible within the parameters of the disease process. Though many complementary approaches are beneficial, some may interfere with conventional treatments and medications.
Nutritious EATING HABITS and regular physical activity benefit the IMMUNE SYSTEMin innumerable ways. The appropriate NUTRIENTS give the body the building blocks-amino acids-it needs to make the components of the IMMUNE RESPONSE. Autoimmune conditions may restrict physical activity, yet physical activity helps maintain optimal function. PHYSICAL THERAPY and MASSAGE THERAPY are conventional means for improving range of motion, STRENGTH, and FLEXIBILITY. YOGA, TAI CHI, and qi gong are alternative approaches that can do the same, along with MEDITATION to help relieve stress and improve mental clarity and focus. BIOFEEDBACK and HYPNOSIS are other methods to manage symptoms and establish a sense of control or peaceful coexistence with the condition. Numerous studies suggest a surprisingly intricate relationship between stress, emotion, and immune function, making stress management particularly important with chronic immune dysfunction.
Efforts to prevent the chronic infections that often accompany immune disorders or the use of IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE MEDICATIONS to treat autoimmune disorders include limiting exposure to other people who are sick (such as during cold and flu season). Frequent HAND WASHING is an effective means for containing pathogens.