June 25, 2024

Holistic Pulse

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Autoimmune Disease Diagnoses and Flares May Be Preceded by Nightmares and Hallucinations

5 min read
The onset of nightmares and dreamlike-hallucinations while awake could be an early warning sign of autoimmune diseases such as lupus or a symptom that comes before a relapse, according to a study published today in eClinicalMedicine.

These findings suggest that in many people, psychiatric or neurological symptoms may be among the first clues that a person is about to have a flare, says lead author Melanie Sloan, PhD, a doctor of public health in the department of public health and primary care at the University of Cambridge in England.

Recognizing those symptoms early may stop flares from progressing, or help people get an accurate diagnosis sooner, says Dr. Sloan.

Psychiatric Symptoms Can Precede an Autoimmune Disease Diagnosis

People who go on to develop autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), can experience psychological symptoms — like depression, agitation, feelings of “unreality,” and poor sleep — before the more typical signs of such conditions, says Sloan.

For the new research, investigators surveyed 676 people living with lupus (an inflammatory disease in which a person’s immune system attacks their own tissues and organs) and 400 healthcare providers. They also conducted detailed interviews with 69 people living with systemic autoimmune diseases, including lupus, and 50 clinicians.

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