Home Health UK Study Shows Nightmares Could Be An Early Indication of Autoimmune Diseases

UK Study Shows Nightmares Could Be An Early Indication of Autoimmune Diseases

by Yucatan Times
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If you’re studying online DNP programs, you likely know what an “autoimmune” disease entails. Autoimmune is a portmanteau of “automatic” which means a process that can be performed without outside assistance or resources, and “immune” defines the state where a body can reliably and consistently fend off sickness and infection. Therefore “autoimmune” refers to the body’s ability to defend itself against harmful bacteria.

When the autoimmune system is diseased, depending on the nature of the malady it can be either fatal or a debilitating chronic condition. There is no cure for autoimmune disease but, like all medical issues, researchers are constantly working to better understand them. The latest breakthrough in a study conducted by Cambridge University has found that there is a potential link between the prevalence of Nightmares, and the autoimmune disease Lupus.

The Study

On May 20th, a study by Cambridge University was published in The Lancet Discovery Science, an online suite of open-access journals that publishes research from academic bodies in the biomedicine and clinical medicine fields.

The study, headed by Melanie Sloan was into the Neuropsychiatric symptoms present in SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus) or “Lupus”, and other systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDs.)

Of a study group of 676 patients who suffered from Lupus, approximately a third of them reported disrupted dreams or frequent nightmares around a year before the more aggressive symptoms of the condition manifested. Lupus also carries multiple anecdotal reports of disrupted sleep due to nightmares. These reports are now officially backed by the evidence gained during the study and could add to the diagnostic criteria for Lupus.

What This Means

Lupus is notoriously difficult to diagnose, as there is not a single test that can definitively and with complete accuracy determine whether or not someone has the disease. Rather, diagnosing Lupus consists of multiple tests carried out over time, and depending on the cumulative results of the test the patient will or won’t be diagnosed with the condition.

The evidence gathered from the new study gives potential Lupus sufferers an extended period of time in which a diagnosis can be pursued, and could potentially reveal a weaker or dormant stage of the disease which may be easier to treat, or potentially cure. This is, however, all speculation, and the official position is that this information is still very much in its infancy.

However it is exciting for another reason as well – it is a clinical study performed with the requisite scientific rigour, that backs frequent nightmares as a neuropsychiatric symptom of an existing condition.

This means that there is precedent for other conditions to be studied and understood from this perspective.

Nightmares As a Symptom

Nightmares have long been understood to have an association with many manifest or emerging mental illnesses. Depression is known to cause frequently interrupted sleep, sometimes through nightmares, as is anxiety disorder. Many trauma sufferers are also plagued with dreams forcing them to re-live their traumatic experiences, causing frequent panic attacks and significant mental distress, especially due to the symptoms associated with poor sleep that are known to exacerbate mental illnesses.

Due to social stigma and a potential lack of safety often found in traumatic or mentally damaging environments, many people suffering from mental illness avoid getting a diagnosis or seeking assistance when their symptoms are relegated to emotional symptoms.

However, officially recognizing nightmares as a symptom of one condition means that nightmares and disrupted sleep as a result of frequent nightmares can be recognised officially as a symptom of other conditions as well. The study may have been regarding SARDs, but it sets an important precedent in the realm of medical diagnostics, especially for those suffering from mental illness.

At The End of The Day

When all is said and done, however, the simple truth is this: there is now more hope than there previously was. A new diagnostic element in one condition represents a new diagnostic element that can be researched, the fine points scrutinised, the biological, chemical, and mental processes recorded, and trends discovered.

Throughout history, there has been a consistent pattern of new emerging technology which then rapidly increases the rate of innovation and technological prowess of the affected society. The same is true of medical science – when a new discovery is made it represents a new foothold from which further research and discovery can be made.

Will the results of this study and what it says about nightmares change the face of medical history? Who can say? Who can say whether or not this is the key study that leads to the discovery of new shores in the realm of autoimmune disease treatment or mental illness care? There is only one thing that can be said with any certainty, and that is that a new clue is a step closer to unravelling a mystery. That is something to be positive about.

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