Living Well with Autoimmune Disease

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Product Description

Autoimmune diseases affect 50 million Americans, mostly women, who frequently remain undiagnosed and untreated, or are treated ineffectively. Living Well with Autoimmune Disease helps readers pinpoint symptoms, find the right practitioner, and learn cutting-edge approaches to reduce symptoms and reverse their disease.

Author Mary Shomon, who has the immune disease Hashimoto's thyroiditis, explains how the immune system is supposed to work, and what can go wrong. Then she discusses more than 20 specific autoimmune diseases--such as chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, thyroid disease, Graves' disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, and multiple sclerosis. For each, she covers symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Shomon, a patient advocate and Web guide for people with thyroid disease, hears the most success stories from people who combine conventional treatment with complementary therapies, so she gives specific strategies for using herbs, diet, and mind/body therapies. She also includes a 30-page checklist of risk factors and symptoms (helpful when you have no idea what condition you might have), a guide to finding and working with the right practitioner, and an extensive resources section that includes patient support organizations, Web sites, and books. --Joan Price

A complete guide to understanding the mysterious and often difficult-to-pinpoint disorders of the immune system--and finding the keys to diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

An estimated fifty million people suffer from symptoms including fatigue, joint pains, depression, or heart palpitations -- signs that the immune system has turned on itself, causing conditions such as thyroid disease, hepatitis, or multiple sclerosis. And while doctors may prescribe treatments to relieve these surface ailments, when asked about the life-long health implications of an autoimmune condition, they often just shrug their shoulders. Yet much like cancer, having one autoimmune disease puts you at high risk for developing another, and understanding the underlying immune process can reverse a patients approach to a dysfunction--for the author, it changed the way she ate, the vitamins and supplements she took, and the types of doctors she visited. Living Well with Autoimmune Disease is the first book that goes beyond the conventional treatments by showing you how to work on your underlying autoimmune dysfunction with natural and alternative therapies.

Customer Reviews:

  • Gives a brief overview of everything but nothing in depth
    This review is sort of blasphemy. Shomon is the queen on this topic so my comments will probably meet with lots of resistance.
    Nevertheless it's a rather slam dunk book; very general and cursory. Allot of the information here is old & vague and almost proverbial in it's common sense.
    Nevertheless everyone will tell you to read her so you might as well get it cheap from Amazon so you'll know the name and hype that way you can talk the talk and walk the walk....more info
  • Living well with autoimmune disease
    Good book. I have read her other book on thyroid. Great resource. I bought 2 books and gave one to my sister who has the same problem. This books gives lots of information and treatment options. I would suggest reading it to anyone who has these issues. ...more info
  • Autoimmune Diseases
    A good start for basic information on a wide variety of autoimmune diseases....more info
  • Maybe Not Perfect But The Best Available
    What does it say about our medical system that the best general handbook on autoimmune disease had to be written by a patient rather than a doctor?

    Autoimmune diseases include: Rheumatoid arthritis, some types of diabetes, lupus, fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, some types of Chronic fatigue syndrome, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis ...and on and on and on. Autoimmune disease can affect any organ or part of the body and may play a role in other conditions that is not yet understood.

    This is a HUGE medical problem that is increasing in scope and complexity. This book gathers together these diverse conditions and attempts help a patient sort through the issues he or she may encounter when it comes to communicating with the medical profession. If one is unfortunate to have one of the rarer varieties, it can be a matter of life or death to get a correct diagnosis from vague symptoms of fatigue or weight gain. For that alone, this book is useful for the patient and for other members of the family who may have to talk to the doctors. Having the condition named in a handbook can be a big relief and having the terminology can be a godsend. It doesn't help that 70% of autoimmune patients are women and often get their testimony discounted by male doctors anyway.

    The main drawback to the book is the recommendation to pursue alternative therapies. I would like to see more science on why certain things work. Even when these alternative therapies seem to help, I'd like more assurance that the alternative treatment is really doing something for the condition! However, I can't fault the author for her recommendations. The fault lies in the science--which at this point is at a loss to explain why autoimmune disease is rising worldwide. The author does not recommend a set course of alternative treatment for any condition--she merely encourages the patient to seek out herbal and other solutions. There's hope in this as well as danger....more info
  • A good reference book on autoimmune disorders
    This book gives some good background on various autoimmune disorders, some of which I didn't know are actually classified as autoimmune, and some I'd never heard of. However, I found this book to possess more breadth than depth. It mentions many autoimmune disorders, but it does not always go into depth about every disorder that is mentioned; on the other hand some disorders rate their own sections.

    This book is worth owning anyway, since it brings up both conventional and alternative treatments, and it's a place to start your journey. If you find something of interest in this book, you'll probably need to reference other books or information elsewhere to get the rest of the details....more info

  • An Excellent Guide thru Auto Immune Disease
    I was diagnosed with auto immune hearing loss 2 years ago, and although my condition is so rare that it didn't make it in the book, the general information in it changed my life. Through reading the book, I was encouraged to figure out if I had a food allergy. Discovering a food allergy (to wheat) changed my life and my body. It put my chaotic body into a state of order for the first time in 5 years, and I had more energy than I had known in my life.

    Grand Haven, Michigan...more info
  • Great Book
    Mary Shomon did it again, with Living Well with Autoimmune Disease. If you have an autoimmune disease this book is a great resource for learning and finding information on your disease. Plus for those who think they have more than one autoimmune disease this book helps them find the answers. Great check list make office visits more productive for the doctor and patient.
    I would recommend this book to all autoimmune suffers....more info
  • Patient-friendly book
    This is a very helpful book for the millions of people dealing with autoimmune diseases. Shomon does an excellent job of identifying the many different types of autoimmune diseases and their symptoms. She offers many traditional treatments as well as more holistic options. Most importantly, she lets you know that if you have one autoimmune disease, you have a much greater chance of contracting another. I learned far more from this book than I did at doctor appointments. ...more info
  • Good Book, but missing some things
    I bought this book after being told by my doctor that I have an autoimmune disease, she just does not know which one. This book is very well written, informative, and easy to read. I learned a lot about the cause of autoimmune diseases and how the immune system works. My only complaints about the book are that there is no index showing what disease is on what page and not all the autoimmune diseases are discussed in the book. The author grouped the diseases by what parts of the body they affect. In the beginning of the book there is a list of all the autoimmune diseases, but the book does not tell you what section they are under or what page to find them on. Also, not all the diseases listed are explained in the book. I was looking for a book that would explain all of the diseases. If you have a fairly common AID, then you will be pleased with the book. If you have a not-so-common one then you are out of luck....more info
  • Lacking in Facts / Full of Myth
    The reason the doctor doesn't tell you: it isn't true.
    This book contains a lot of information for the average patient, and it SOUNDS logical. Unfortunately, only about half of it is based on science. In a world where those desparate for solutions are easy prey for snake-oil salesmen and fearmongers, this book leads right to them.

    Most of the information of value in the book can be found in simple one-page summaries that many organizations provide (including the NIH and CDC). It lacks anything truly informative and the time reading it is wasted....more info
  • Health Related Book
    Living Well with Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know.

    Very indepth and informative. Great resourse for diagnosis and treatment options. ...more info
  • This has been the best book I have read so far.....
    This was the most informative book that I have read. I have had fibromyalgia for several years and have had to learn on my own alot of the information that was contained in this one book...a must have for any new autoimmune sufferer.
    GREAT READ ! GREAT INFO !...more info
  • General information about AD.
    Having been diagnosed with an AD (Chrohn's Disease) six years ago and not changing my living habits, I found myself hospitalized and in need of surgery (double ostomy). Since this surgery I have found myself reevaluating my life. I have trying to absorb all of the information about Chrohn's and AD in general.

    This is the third book about AD that I have read and by far the best of the three. The other two were medical text books that contained a lot of technical information with little practicality. They went into a lot of depth about what AD is and current treatments, but they did not go into any depth about living with an AD.

    This book gives great information about all AD and what you as the patient can do to prevent getting more AD (yes if you have one it is easier to get another), and treatments (mostly herbal and general diet guidelines) that a doctor won't discuss with you.

    Although this is a great book in that it covers all AD, it does not go into any significant depth. What I came to realize is that all of the information that I had read (specifically with Chrohn's) was previously provided in all of the AD specific books that I had read. I learned nothing new about my disease (except that if you have one AD it is easier to get another).

    If you have just been diagnosed with an AD, then I would highly recommend reading this book, but I don't think it was worth adding it to my "medical" library (check it out from the library). After that explore you AD and use the information in this book to get started on your treatment....more info

  • A truly superb book
    Having treated auto-immune conditions for over 20 years, I am delighted to finally have a book on the subject that I can recommend to my patients wholeheartedly. Mary Shoman has done a truly superb job in collecting and coordinating a wide variety of very helpful diagnostic and therapeutic information. I am especially please to see the inclusion of both conventional and alternative approaches. In fact, her book makes more sense out of the auto-immune challenge than most of the medical textbooks I have read.

    Best of all, this richly packed comprehensive overview is easily readable and understandable. Her action plans are a compelling incentive for patients to take health issues into their own hands. Her detailed list of resources and references together rounds out a sparkling achievement. With auto-immune illness increasing dramatically all over the world, EVERYONE needs to read this book....more info

  • Don't Waste Your Time
    There isn't a fact or bit of advice in this poorly written book that you can't easily find and read on the Net for free. Written by yet another patient that thinks she can write and has something to say....more info
  • Review of Living Well with Autoimmune Disease:What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You
    This is a very informative book. It is well worth keeping on hand for referral. It describes many autoimmune diseases and tells, in many cases, how they are connected. It also tells, whenever possible, how these diseases may get started, what their symptoms are, and how they are treated. Since much of this information is very new to the general public, the book may be of great help to people searching for answers to their own medical problems. ...more info
  • A solid, insightful work from someone who's been there...
    Shomon offers valuable guidance on getting a correct diagnosis, finding a doctor who will work with you and fight for you, and assembling a traditional and/or holistic care plan that works for you. An accomplished author and medical writer in her own right, Shomon's own experience with an autoimmune condition (thyroid disease) gives "Living Well..." added insight that sets it apart from other books of its genre. An impressive resource section rounds out this reference work that should be in every autoimmune patient's collection (and on their doctor's bookshelf as well)....more info
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  • Living Well With Autoimmune Disease
    This isn't really a book to buy to 'read through'. It is more of a reference book. The information on the close interrelationship of autoimmune diseases was very good and is true to my own experience.

    I think I was up to about 15 different forms of autoimmune disease diagnoses before I finally, gently and firmly, asked both my primary care physician and my rheumatologist to "quit playing Christopher Columbus on my a**". I didn't want to become nothing but a long stream of concurrent disorders in my own or my doctors' minds. I am a person living with multiple autoimmune disorders. I am NOT my disease. I am me.

    I don't need a 14 page list of the conditions I have and to what degree they are affecting. Tell me the differences in treatment options, the meaning of the new additions, how to cope with them.

    I stopped trying to just read through the book when it began to get into alternative medicine approaches, because you have to be rich to afford investigating these approaches. I cannot afford nutritionists, alternative medical therapists, etc. I am on Social Security which does not pay for these and I simply can't afford research or care in this area.

    That's why I give the book 2 out of five stars. The information offered is valuable and I am glad to have this book on my shelf. At some point in the future I might read more, but, for now, this simply isn't practical....more info
  • Mary Shomon has done it again!
    Amazingly all-encompassing, this book is a must. Ms. Shomon offers honest information in a manner that neither talks down nor oversimplifies. Magnificent....more info
  • A book FOR autoimmune disease sufferers, BY one!
    Finally, a book on autoimmune conditions that explains things in plain English! And doesn't scare the be-geezus out of you! I picked up the book and couldn't put it down. It helped me connect the dots on years of apparently isolated, but debilitating illnesses -- which turn out to be systemic and connected to reality! This book de-mystifies the conditions, and empowers readers by taking away fears of battling unknown, obscure, and incurable conditions. It's not a book for Ph-Ds, by a PH-D. It's for sufferers like you and me. At least now we have a place to start to understand these conditions better and take charge of getting help!!!...more info
  • Good all-round source to get you started
    I had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, the doctors just did not know which one. There was a baffling array of symptoms that suggested that there were two disorders involved. Which two? The lack of information, and the lack of something specific to research, was maddening.

    This book helped it all make sense to me. Seeing all the possible disorders and all the possible symptoms, it became clear how difficult it was for the doctors to pinpoint a problem. It also helped me to realize that I did not need a label before I could begin working for a treatment. This book gave enough information for me to feel more in control and to familiarize me with the different diseases that were possibilities. Now I know which symptoms could be significant and should be reported. Things that did not seemed trivial before now have a different level of importance. But without guidance, I would not know what was worthwhile to report. Now I can be a better patient and can help my doctor narrow the diagnosis.

    This book was an excellent springboard to new topics to research and possible treatment avenues that might be worth investigating. The references for more information -- and why you would care -- was helpful too. This is a great book for those new to the autoimmune disease community....more info


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