How can you fight it?
Fifty million of those living in the United States experience autoimmune conditions. A huge percentage of that fifty million are women. These kinds of diseases are one of the top ten causes of death in females below sixty-five. There are a lot of kinds of autoimmune diseases, from thyroid disease to multiple sclerosis. There is also a lot of symptoms due to these diseases that affect the body. We’re here to talk about these symptoms, how they are caused and the treatment we should take.
There are a lot of various autoimmune diseases which have negative effects on the body’s organs. But even these diseases are different, they have one thing in common: they are the body’s reactions to inflammation. It is a reaction wherein the body fights itself. The system of your body in charge of immunity is very complex. It identifies every intruding substance that infiltrates your body or that comes in contact with you. If the system decides a substance poses a threat, antibodies are produced to attack the substances and keep your body safe.
But your immune system makes mistakes. When it encounters things that are bad for you, it may sometimes have difficulty telling the difference between the intruder and parts of your body. This causes autoimmune diseases. For example, when you immune system mistakes a tissue or a group of cells for something else, say, an invasive external threat, the natural reaction of the body is to make the antibodies attack themselves. The consequences can be catastrophic.
Going deeper into the causes of an autoimmune disease
Several factors underlie the causes of an autoimmune disease. Genetics is an obvious one. But how your genes behave depends on another set of factors. The introduction of toxins is one of them. Toxins can range from mercury to mycotoxins (mold-based) to infections like herpes, and perhaps most importantly, recurring inflammation due to sensitivity to certain dishes (a good examples is gluten intolerance). Past research has discovered that there is a high occurrence of autoimmune diseases with those who are gluten intolerant.
Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease
1. Pain, weakness or tremors in the joints and muscles
2. Losing weight, unable to sleep, unable to tolerate high temperatures, fast heart rate
3. Recurring rash or hive on the skin, being sensitive to sunlight, rashes on your nose or cheek shaped like butterflies
4. Lack of focus, absence of concentration
5. Exhaustion, gaining weight, unable to tolerate low temperatures
6. Losing hair, white patches on the skin or in the mouth
7. Stomach pain, bloody stool, loose bowel movement, ulcer in the mouth
8. Dried eyes, mouth or skin
9. Numbed extremities
10. Instances of miscarriage, clotting of blood
Actions to be taken Treatment of the causes is key when you want to stop or reverse an autoimmune disease and its symptoms. Ordinary physicians only help with symptoms and not the underlying causes. They would often tell patients to take anti-inflammatories or steroids or some form of immunosuppressant. The problem with these meds is that they don’t really take care of the root problem. It’s only a temporary solution and hardly a permanent one. Another problem a patient might encounter is the possibility of really bad infection or maybe even certain types of cancer, when consumption of immunosuppressants is done long-term.
You may find it hard to determine the kind of disease you have. There are a lot of ways in which autoimmune diseases reveal themselves. The effects on the different parts of your body can also be vague. But it can be done. You just have to work with a functional medicine doctor and understand your body better. You need to know your family’s history, if there are allergies or sensitivities to food. You need to know whether or not each symptom you’re experiencing is related. These are all important. The functional medicine doctor can assist you in looking for the underlying cause of the disease, if there is one.
How you should go about treatment and reversal of the disease
A comprehensive elimination diet is my immediate recommendation to someone who thinks he or she has autoimmune conditions. Just like the name suggests, through this method, we eliminate the 12 leading kinds of food that cause inflammation. It is also recommended that grains and legumes be taken out of their meals since these two kinds of food were in the past, found to be connected to the conditions.
A comprehensive type of stool exam is also very significant. This comes before the application of the all-important 4R approach. Remember that eighty percent of the immune system is located in the gut. Autoimmune diseases are signs of a leaky gut which needs to be fixed.
Blood also has to be checked comprehensively for antibodies or infections that might not be detected earlier on.
Once all of this has been accomplished and there are still signs of the autoimmune disease, I begin the hunt for toxins that might be hiding. Hidden toxins have to be treated in different ways.
From my own experiences, dealing with these conditions can overwhelm, confuse and terrify a patient. But you have to be strong. You also have to be smart. Understand and treat the root cause, and not just the symptoms. That’s how you can beat it.