According to statistics, over fifty million Americans suffer from autoimmune conditions. A staggering 75% of those are women. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to know someone who is suffering from an autoimmune disorder and ways to treat autoimmune diseases has never been more important.
So what is an autoimmune disease?
This is a disease where the immune system attacks itself. It mistakenly destroys its own health body tissues.
There are over eighty types of autoimmune disorders affecting various tissues and organs in the body. The symptoms experienced by sufferers can be very severe or quite mild.
Common autoimmune diseases
- Celiac disease – a reaction to gluten, damaging the lining of the small intestine
- Graves’ disease – an over active thyroid gland
- Hashimoto’s disease – an underactive thyroid gland
- Diabetes type I – damage to insulin producing cells within the pancreas
- Multiple sclerosis – damage to the protective coating surrounding nerves of the spinal cord and the brain
- Inflammatory bowel disease – inflammation of the small intestine and the colon
- Psoriasis – silvery white patches on the skin with irritation, inflammation, and sickness
- Rheumatoid arthritis inflamed joints and surrounding tissues
scleroderma a disease affecting the skin, blood vessels, internal organs, and muscles
Causes of autoimmune diseases
Numerous factors may cause autoimmune disorders. Genetics is certainly one of them, although it is not always the cause. The truth is, genes turn on when triggered for various reasons:
- Food sensitivities caused by chronic inflammation. Gluten is definitely a problem. Autoimmune conditions mean that an individual has leaky gut syndrome. With a leaky gut, the undigested food particles that are minute make their way through the gut walls and into the bloodstream. As such, it is recognized by the immune system as a foreign invader, and so the attack begins. The entire body gets affected by this inflammatory cascade that is created.
- Infections, such as yeast, viral, and bacterial. Very often, there are hidden toxins that stem from Candida which is a yeast that can trigger an autoimmune disease.
- Toxic chemical exposure: things like pesticides, household cleansers and even hair dyes, solvents and other similar products can cause autoimmune diseases.
- Toxic metal exposure: aluminum, cadmium, mercury, lead, and other metals can also be linked to autoimmune disorders. These heavy metals can encourage the production of auto antibodies, which lead to the creation of autoimmune diseases.
- Stress and trauma can also be the culprit in developing autoimmune diseases. A major stressful event can have a direct impact on the immune system shortly after the fact.
How to know if you have an autoimmune disease
There are common signs and symptoms of autoimmunity. Experiencing a combination of these symptoms can reveal a higher risk of having or developing an autoimmune disease:
- unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- extreme fatigue
- muscle weakness and joint pain
- anxiety and depression
- digestive problems
- low blood sugar
- swollen glands
- candida yeast infections
- food, chemical, and environmental allergies
- memory problems
- thyroid issues
- blood pressure changes
- recurring headaches
- brain fog
- recurring miscarriages
- low-grade fever
Treat autoimmune diseases
There are a variety of methods in conventional treatment of autoimmune diseases and their goals are to control the process and enable the body to fight the disease. Obviously, with so many different autoimmune diseases and disorders, the treatments are dependent on the specific disease and the types of symptoms. In some cases, to treat autoimmune diseases requires medication while in others supplements can aid the body in fighting the problem. Some autoimmune disorders affect the blood directly, requiring frequent blood transfusions.
Autoimmunosuppressant medications are often prescribed to reduce the symptoms or control the immune system’s response. NSAID’s are often prescribed to suppress inflammation.
The results depend on many factors. For one thing, they depend on the disease, as autoimmune diseases are chronic. Very often, medications are prescribed they can only control the symptoms, and unfortunately, there are numerous side effects, sometimes severe, that are associated with these medications.
Addressing the root causes of autoimmunity
The best way to treat autoimmune diseases is to find it’s a root cause. This can help stop it and reverse it, but it must be identified in order for it to be addressed, as there are underlying causes. The medical community rarely looks for the underlying causes, so it’s left up to the individual, and some holistic doctors to help remedy the situation.
The first thing a patient can do is change their diet. An anti-inflammatory diet means removing all foods you may be sensitive to. In most cases, one can almost guarantee that the culprits are dairy and gluten. Others are eggs, corn, and soy. A period of three months will be required to safely judge whether there is a food sensitivity linked to the autoimmune disease. If it is, it will be likely that you’ll have to avoid these foods for the remainder of your life.
It would also be wise to eliminate all processed foods, sugar, vegetable oil, caffeine, and alcohol.
Instead, increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, gluten-free grains, pulses, and healthy oils. When it comes to meats of any type, including poultry, choose only grass fed meat.
Investigate any gut infections. Most of the autoimmune system is found in the gut, so it’s not uncommon to find infections in the gut. Gut infections to deal with include parasites, yeast, or bacteria. Have a stool test to check for any infections. Undergo parasite cleansing, a bacterial and fungal cleansing by using herbs. These may take longer to produce results, but they can be very effective.
Healing the Gut
Repairing and healing the gut. A leaky gut produces inflammation, which is all related to autoimmune diseases. Therefore, the solution is to stop inflammation in its track beginning by eliminating all the foods that cause these reactions. Omega-3 fish oil has proved to be quite effective in reducing inflammation. Supplement the diet with digestive enzymes and take probiotics. Heal the gut lining through supplements readily available either online or in brick-and-mortar health stores. Aloe vera, I–glutamine, slippery elm, and others are ingredients to look for.
Heavy metals. Heavy metals may cause neurological symptoms because the brain is the primary target, as are other vital organs including the kidneys, the liver, and the heart. The thyroid gland is also greatly affected by an accumulation of heavy metals in the intestinal walls. A hair test can be used to identify an accumulation of heavy metals in the body. If it is found to be so, there are numerous supplements and herbs that can help the body detox from the harmful heavy metals. Furthermore, purchase organic produce only–it’s not subjected to fertilizers. Water pollution and air pollution are also the culprit in these cases. Remove any silver colored dental fillings made from mercury amalgam which will break down over time and increase heavy metals in the body.
Practice all these recommendations along with the all-important exercise. Exercise helps treat autoimmune diseases too.
More information of how to recognize and treat autoimmune diseases: WebMD.com