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Empower Autoimmune Health: Control Through Vitals

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
March 30, 2024
March 30, 2024

Living with an autoimmune condition can be challenging, as the body's immune system attacks its own tissues, leading to inflammation and discomfort. While medications can help manage symptoms, taking an active role in monitoring your health is essential for overall well-being.

Autoimmune conditions

Some autoimmune conditions that affect glucose metabolism and may lead to diabetes include:

  1. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
  2. Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA)
  3. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (may be associated with autoimmune diabetes)
  4. Celiac Disease (may be associated with autoimmune diabetes)
  5. Addison's Disease (may be associated with autoimmune diabetes)

Some autoimmune conditions that can affect blood pressure include:

  1. Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  3. Vasculitis
  4. Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders (e.g., Hashimoto's Thyroiditis)
  5. Antiphospholipid Syndrome
  6. Sjögren's Syndrome
  7. Goodpasture Syndrome
  8. Wegener's Granulomatosis (Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis)
  9. Behçet's Disease
  10. Takayasu's Arteritis

Monitor Vitals

One crucial aspect of managing autoimmune conditions is monitoring vital signs regularly. By keeping track of key indicators like blood pressure, glucose levels, and weight, you can gain valuable insights into your body's health status and how it responds to various factors. Regular monitoring allows you to detect changes early and take proactive steps to address them. For example,

If you notice a spike in blood pressure, it could be due to:

  1. Inflammation: Autoimmune conditions are characterized by chronic inflammation, which can affect blood vessel function and contribute to hypertension. Inflammatory processes may lead to endothelial dysfunction, causing blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to rise.
  2. Medication Side Effects: Some medications used to manage autoimmune conditions, such as corticosteroids, may have side effects that include increased blood pressure. It's essential to monitor blood pressure regularly while taking these medications and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.
  3. Stress and Anxiety: Chronic stress and anxiety can contribute to hypertension by increasing heart rate and constricting blood vessels.
  4. Kidney Involvement: Certain autoimmune conditions, such as lupus or vasculitis, can affect kidney function. Kidney involvement may lead to renal hypertension, a type of secondary hypertension caused by kidney disease or dysfunction.
  5. Fluid Retention: Autoimmune conditions may disrupt fluid balance in the body, leading to fluid retention and increased blood volume. This can put added pressure on the blood vessels and raise blood pressure.
  6. Underlying Cardiovascular Issues: Some autoimmune conditions can increase the risk of inflammation around the heart, which can in turn lead to hypertension. Check cholesterol annually if it is stable, and more often if it is elevated.
  7. Adrenal Dysfunction: Some autoimmune conditions, such as Addison's disease or adrenal insufficiency, affect adrenal gland function. Adrenal dysfunction can disrupt the body's ability to regulate blood pressure and electrolyte balance, potentially leading to hypertension. Checking electrolytes, often and getting a good balance of minerals from the diet are critical to helping you feel your best.

If you see unexplained fluctuations in glucose it might be due to:

  1. Insulin Resistance: Changes in your body’s insulin resistance, due to inflammation. Insulin resistance can also impair the ability of blood vessels to relax and dilate, contributing to increased blood pressure.
  2. Autonomic Dysfunction: Some autoimmune conditions, such as autonomic neuropathy in diabetes, can affect the autonomic nervous system's regulation of blood pressure and glucose levels. Dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system may lead to fluctuations in both blood glucose and blood pressure.
  3. Medication Effects: Certain medications used to manage autoimmune conditions or diabetes, such as corticosteroids or insulin, may have side effects that impact blood pressure regulation. Monitor blood glucose levels closely and discuss any medication-related concerns with your healthcare provider.


Incorporating vitals monitoring into your daily routine can be empowering and transformative. By staying informed about your body's health status and taking proactive steps to maintain wellness, you can enhance your quality of life and better manage your autoimmune condition.

Remember, your health is in your hands. By prioritizing regular vitals monitoring and taking proactive steps to maintain wellness, you can take control of your autoimmune health and thrive despite the challenges you may face.

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