All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for December 2003

Patient-Oriented Book Focuses on Living with Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmunity Named One of Newsweek's Top 10 Health Stories of 2003

December 4, 2003
US Newswire

Newsweek magazine has announced that autoimmune disease is one of the magazine's "Top Ten Health Stories of 2003," joining high-profile issues including obesity, hormones, SARS, and Alzheimer's. Kicking off the year's coverage was the book "Living Well With Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know," published by HarperCollins in late 2002.

Written by patient advocate and best-selling author Mary J. Shomon, the book, already in its 4th printing, is the first to view autoimmune disease as a category of conditions, exploring prevention and treatment strategies from conventional and holistic perspectives.

Autoimmune disease -- which refers to conditions where the body turns on itself to attack tissues, organs and glands -- includes thyroid problems such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease, Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and endometriosis, among others. At least 80 different conditions are identified as autoimmune, and some 50 million Americans -- 20 percent of the population, or one in every five adults -- are affected, the majority being women.

Says Shomon, "It's a relief to see that autoimmunity is finally starting to be recognized as a category of illness -- like cancer. It is this recognition that there is a common pathway and linkage among these various conditions that is finally getting autoimmunity the increased attention, funding, and media focus it deserves."

In 1995, Shomon herself was diagnosed with autoimmune disease, but not before enduring a baffling array of symptoms, and a host of doctors who could offer no answers. Shomon turned her struggle and the answers she found -- via research, interviews with the nation's leading practitioners, and patient stories -- into "Living Well With Autoimmune Disease," the second in her series of "Living Well..." books for HarperCollins. The first, "Living Well With Hypothyroidism," now in its 17th printing, has become a best-selling touchstone for thyroid patients and practitioners.

According to Shomon, "Autoimmune conditions are frequently misdiagnosed and overlooked. With symptoms ranging from fatigue, to joint pain, depression, weight changes, and hair loss, it's unfortunately far too easy for patients and doctors to write it off as stress, aging, and hormones -- the excuses go on for years. Too often no one takes the time to discover the real problem: autoimmunity."

Shomon's guide offers readers a tool -- the Autoimmune Disease Risk Factors and Symptoms Checklist -- to get the right diagnosis. The book also discusses the environmental, hereditary, nutritional, and mind-body factors that affect susceptibility to autoimmune disease. The book covers symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and conventional treatments for many autoimmune diseases, along with innovative and promising alternative treatments, including diet and supplements. A detailed resources section outlines profiles doctors, patient organizations, experts, websites, books, and more.

Information is available at

Copyright © 2003, US Newswire