Scientists: Nightmares can be an early warning sign of serious diseases Scientists: Nightmares can be an early warning sign of serious diseases

Scientists: Nightmares can be an early warning sign of serious diseases

Scientists: Nightmares can be an early warning sign of serious diseases
An international team of researchers said that an increase in nightmares and hallucinations, or "waking nightmares", may be a warning sign of some autoimmune diseases.

The researchers called on doctors to ask about nightmares in the hope that this will help discover early when symptoms are likely to appear in patients.

In the study, published in the journal eClinicalMedicine, researchers, led by the University of Cambridge and King's College London, surveyed the opinions of 676 people with lupus (an autoimmune inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to attack tissues and organs, including the brain), and 400 doctors, in addition to a procedure... Detailed interviews with 69 people with systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (including lupus) and 50 doctors.

The researchers asked patients about the timing of the onset of 29 neurological and mental health symptoms, including depression, hallucinations, and loss of balance.

In the interviews, patients were asked to list the order in which symptoms usually appear.

Nearly one in four participants reported hallucinations, although the majority said this did not occur until early in the illness or later.

However, the interviews found that three in five patients with lupus and one in three with other rheumatism-related conditions experienced a significant increase in sleep dreams - usually vivid, distressing nightmares - before developing hallucinations.

Patients described the nightmares they had as "painful and horrific, like murders and skinning people."

The patients added that they thought this happened when they were “stressed” and “the more stress their body is under, the more vivid and worse the dream becomes.”

Lead author, Dr Melanie Sloan, from the University of Cambridge's Department of Public Health and Primary Care, said: 'It is important that doctors talk to their patients about these types of symptoms and spend time noting the progression of each patient's individual symptoms. Patients often know which symptoms are a bad sign. “While their disease is about to get worse, both patients and doctors can be reluctant to discuss mental health and neurological symptoms, especially if they do not realize that these could be part of autoimmune disease.”

The study found that using the term "waking nightmares" to talk about hallucinations was more effective for patients, and they felt it was a less frightening word.

The study highlights the importance of recognizing these symptoms given reports that some patients were initially misdiagnosed or even hospitalized for mental health problems, such as a psychotic episode and/or suicidal ideation, which later turned out to be Their first signs of autoimmune disease.


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