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Monday, October 29, 2018

Attitude Is Everything

Myasthenia gravis is one of the many autoimmune diseases affecting humans. The hallmark of myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness, which can affect different parts of the body, such as the eyes, resulting in drooping eyelids and double vision, and the limbs affecting body movement, and the throat resulting in difficulty in swallowing. There are many underlying causes or triggers of the onset of an autoimmune disease. Basically, it is the dysfunction or malfunction of the immune system.

Researchers have now discovered that there is a close connection between attitude and autoimmune response. The research findings indicated that attitude can suppress or enhance the immune system. The explanation is that when affected by certain emotions and moods, the brain releases certain brain chemicals that are transmitted to the immune cells with receptors for those chemicals. In other words, there is a biochemical link between human emotions and immunity.

Attitude is a learned response to a person, a circumstance, or an event. Researchers have found that control over a stressful situation may lead to a positive attitude, which will benefit and improve the immune response.

In one study, two rats, having been given electric shock, were put in two different cages, one with a wheel to control the shock, and the other one without the wheel. The result was that the rat which could control the wheel had much better immune response than the other one without the wheel. That is to say, without the capability to control the situation may be devastating to the immune system.

Given that myasthenia gravis, or any autoimmune disease, has to do with a compromised immune system, it is therefore important to  boost your immune system with an attitude of being in control, or at least not to suppress it with an attitude of helplessness. Do not let your despair develop into a depression, which may result in higher-than-normal cortisol (a hormone) that suppresses the immune response. Again, research has indicated that optimism increases the immune system functioning.

Understandably, to be diagnosed with myasthenia gravis is a devastating experience. But don't let that negative emotion be a stumbling block on your road to recovery. Although according to conventional Western medicine, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, there are many natural ways not only to control and cope with the disease symptoms but also to enhance your immune system to combat the disease over the long haul.

The first step is to develop an attitude of being in control. This mindset is critical to recovery. 

I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis more than two decades ago; I struggled with my disease symptoms for a while; I stopped all my medications; and for over a decade, I have been totally drug-free. If I could do it, you can do the same too. There is no miracle cure, except the intention to get better, which is no more than an attitude of control, empowerment of knowledge, and determination to fight against all odds.

Read my book: My Myasthenia Gravis (2nd edition)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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