Only optimism is contagious !, a campaign of the Association of Patients with Autoimmune Diseases

Only optimism is contagious !, a campaign of the Association of Patients with Autoimmune Diseases

The positive mood generates beneficial effects on the health of patients with autoimmune disorders

The Association of Patients with Autoimmune Diseases (APAA) declares 2013 the Year of Optimsm and launches the campaign "Only optimism is contagious!". The campaign aims to draw attention to autoimmune diseases and to the fact that they are not contagious, but also to help patients accept the disease, to give more importance to the positive mood and to have a normal life.

"Patients with autoimmune disorders have a general poor condition, they are very tired, weak and most of the time they spend most of their time at home and give up work, friends, practically what social life means. Through this campaign we want to be with the patients with autoimmune disorders and show them that when they are properly diagnosed and undergoing proper treatment they can keep the disease under control and have a normal life. Our message is directed at the same time to those around us. whether we are talking about family, friends or colleagues, who do not understand these diseases very well and who are avoiding contact with the patients, we tell them that the autoimmune diseases are not contagious and that they should behave normally around the patients. and to be with them, because the moral support is very important for the patients' mood, "says Rozalina Lapadatu, President of APAA.

The researchers associated optimism with positive effects on health, by reducing pain and fatigue even in the case of somatic or psychological diseases. In terms of expectations regarding their own health, patients with a positive mood are more inclined to care for their health and believe in their chances of healing, even when faced with factors of illness that they do not. he can control it. On the other hand, pessimistic people are convinced that they have no chance of healing, so they give up any attempt to improve their health and, moreover, they have unhealthy behavior that accentuates their bad mood. Also, pessimism is a risk factor for the progression of disabilities and physical decline.

"For patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, a positive state of mind is particularly important because it can help them accept the disease, learn to fight it and give up isolation. The psychological support and support of those around them becomes so essential to their state of mind Studies have shown the connection between optimism and mental health, optimism being linked to a lower level of stress and depressive symptoms. for these patients, the doctors' recommendation is to try to get less stress and rest as much as they need, to do outdoor walks, to learn relaxation techniques and to seek help around, either at family or at patient associations. or even to the psychologist, "explains Elena Camelia Berghea, primary medical allergist-clinical immunology, UMF-Carol Davila University Assistant, Bucharest.

In 2013, APAA develops a series of projects dedicated to patients, including the launch of information guides for patients with psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus. Also, in support of patients, their families, as well as people who want to find out more about autoimmune disorders, APAA has launched the forum All those interested can get in touch with the members of the association both through the APAA website -, but also through the page.

About autoimmune disorders

Autoimmune diseases are disorders caused by an inappropriate response of the immune system, directed against one's own body. Normally the immune system is the one that protects us from foreign substances from outside the body or from the inside become "foreign", called antigens (bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, etc.). Sometimes it will cease to recognize one or more of the body's normal constituents as "self" and will produce antibodies that will attack normal cells, tissues and / or organs. The result of the hyper-reactive behavior of the immune system is the inflammation and destruction of the affected organs or tissues, the modification of their functions, followed by the triggering of various symptoms characteristic of autoimmune diseases.

The exact causes of the development of autoimmune diseases are unknown, sometimes it is suspected that the imbalance is triggered by the intervention of bacteria, viruses, toxins or even some drugs, in an individual with a genetic predisposition for the development of autoimmune diseases.

There are a multitude of autoimmune diseases, some affect only one organ, others can cover the whole body. The most common organs and tissues affected by autoimmune disorders are: red blood cells, blood vessels, endocrine glands such as thyroid or pancreas, musculature, connective tissue, joints, skin. A person may present at the same time the autoimmune damage of several organs.

Diagnosed and cared for by doctors of various specialties, depending on the affected organs (rheumatologists, neurologists, dermatologists, immunologists, endocrinologists, nephrologists, etc.), autoimmune diseases have a chronic evolution, but can be controlled most often under specific treatments.