The 17 Symptoms Common To Most Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune Super-symptoms graphic
These 17 so called super-symtoms are common to most autoimmune diseases.

There is nothing super in the conventional use of that word with the symptoms common to most autoimmune diseases. In fact, they are pretty horrible. Here the word “super” refers to symptoms that lie “above” other symptoms that are more specific to each autoimmune disease.

The 17 Super-Symptoms Common To Most Autoimmune Diseases

Mary J. Shomon, in her book “Living Well with Autoimmune Disease” named these symptoms common to most autoimmune diseases, super-symptoms. The 17 Super-symptoms are:

  1. Fatigue
  2. General Muscle Weakness
  3. Recurrent Miscarriage
  4. Skin Rashes
  5. Rash, Itchy Skin, Hives

6. Dry Mouth
7. Low-Grade Fever
8. Depression
9. Brain Fog
10. Hair Loss

11. Dry Eyes
12. Shortness of Breath
13. Palpitations
14. Weight Loss
15. Infections (urinary, gum, skin, vaginal, viruses)

16. Joint and/or Muscle Pain
17. Numbness and/or Tingling in Hands and Feet

What these super-symptoms have in common is that they are the result of an immune system that is upregulated, since it thinks that your own tissues and organs are “foreign invaders” and must be taken out. Part of the immune response is systemic, affecting the entire body, outside of the organ or tissue being attacked, and that is what is experienced with these super-symptoms.

Calm Your Immune System with Anti-inflammatory Foods

You will likely not have all of them, but if you check at least a couple and are unwell and your doctor is not able to figure out what is wrong with you, you may have autoimmunity going on. If that is the case, or if you have received a diagnosis that you have one of the more than 100 autoimmune diseases, give anti-inflammatory eating a try and see what happens. Autoimmune disease is disproportionately common in women and runs in families.

pile of fresh vegetables on white background

Anti-inflammatory eating is safe, effective, and has the power to cool inflammation. You can think of inflammation as something hot, or a fire. Inflammatory foods fuel that fire, such as highly processed foods. Anti-inflammatory foods cools, or pour water, on the fire, such as dark leafy greens.

You want to eat more of the foods that dampen the fire, which is why we call those foods anti-inflammatory. You can find anti-inflammatory recipes on my food blog Eat.Live.Cool. and there are many cookbooks on the topic.

This cooling down of inflammation can prevent, reverse or reduce symptoms of inflammation, which is what makes us feel lousy.

Going Anti-inflammatory is Good for Everyone

Since inflammation is linked to basically all chronic and degenerative conditions impacting us as a collective these days. I am talking about diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s to name but a few.

Inflammation, the chronic and often hidden kind smolders beneath the surface and also weighs on those who don’t have autoimmunity. This type of inflammation makes us tired, achy, brain-foggy, gain weight and it speeds aging, so there are no reasons NOT to eat and live anti-inflammatory in my mind.

In fact, everyone will benefit by going anti-inflammatory, but it is especially important if you suspect or know, that you have an autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune Disease is a Process

Autoimmune disease doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process. Dr. Datis Kharrazian explains the three stages of autoimmune disease, wherein stage one and two tissue damage has not yet occurred or is not significant enough to be detected by tests, leading to doctors not knowing what is wrong with you since they can’t see it on their tests.

But why wait for symptoms and a diagnosis when you can start eating and living anti-inflammatory today and see if you feel better. Once tissue or organ damage has occurred it is irreversible. Instead, take charge of what you have the power over, and what you put into your body plays a huge role in how we feel. This is especially true when we are struggling with our health.

Don’t Forget Anti-inflammatory Living

It’s easy to focus on just the food. But I urge you not to forget that leading an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is as important as what we eat. In fact, the most pristine food going into a body that does not get more than 6 hours of sleep each night, and is constantly stressed out and dehydrated, will not be able to reduce much inflammation. The anti-inflammatory lifestyle choices you make, allows your body to receive the anti-inflammatory foods you eat.

You may have heard this a hundred times, but it really matters how much sleep you get, how much water you drink, and the stress level you experience.

Top 3 Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle Behaviours

woman's shoes and lower legs walking on board walk.

1. Get Enough Sleep. Go to bed early, aim to be in bed by 9.30 pm – 10 pm.
2. Move Every Day. It doesn’t have to be called exercise, require a change of clothes and a water bottle. Just move more during your day, take the stairs, walk shorter distances instead of driving. Make a habit of moving naturally throughout your day.
3. Manage Stress. Consciously use your breath pattern to take you from stressed out to calm.


By choosing to eat and live with an anti-inflammatory lens you can feel better by reducing symptoms of inflammation. This is especially important if you know, or suspect you have an autoimmune disease. The 17 super-symptoms that are common to most autoimmune diseases may give you a clue. You can do this one anti-inflammatory food at a time! 🙂

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