28 Signs You Grew Up With an Autoimmune Disease

The Mighty community shares signs that they grew up with an autoimmune disease.

If you’re anything like me, certain signs or symptoms of your autoimmune disease started showing up years (or for many of us, decades) before you were actually diagnosed. But even though I began exhibiting unusual symptoms as early as 8 months old and continued to have inexplicable health problems throughout childhood and adolescence, doctors could never connect the dots. Oftentimes my symptoms were dismissed entirely – excruciating knee aches were just “growing pains,” and debilitating fatigue was simply the result of working hard in school.

For many of those with autoimmune diseases, receiving a diagnosis as an adult not only puts a name to your current set of symptoms, but can also validate and make sense of some of your childhood experiences. We asked our Mighty community to share some of the signs they grew up with an autoimmune disease, which they now recognize in retrospect. Maybe some of these early “signs” will ring true for you, too.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. “A sign for me was constant body aches and headaches. I was always told it was growing pains but now that I’m all grown, the pains never left and only became more frequent and more painful.” – Amy L.2. “In high school, I thought everyone felt the same fatigue I felt. So, I couldn’t understand how my girl friends were able to run up and down the basketball court so much without wanting to collapse, didn’t have to rest at the top of the stairs heading to class and didn’t bleed through the thickest pads within two hours during their cycles. I thought all that was normal.” – Sarah N.

3. “I had ‘stomach bugs’ way more often than anyone else in my family. I also had bouts of super high blood pressure as a teen.” – Erin P.C.

4. “I was always sick. I couldn’t keep up with my friends. And there was literally nothing my mom could do to get me out of bed in the morning – I missed so much school. Also never digesting food properly. I was eating Tums before I was 10 years old like they were candy!” – Bianca P.M.

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