What is an Autoimmune Disease?
Your body’s immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body — like your joints or skin — as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells. Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. Type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like lupus, affect the whole body.
Some of the most common autoimmune diseases:
There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases. Most of them are long-term illnesses, with the severity of symptoms changing over time. Most common Autoimmune Diseases include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Celiac disease
- Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism)
- Guillain-Barre syndrom
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Inflammation bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Sjӧgren’s syndrom
- Pernicious anemia
Although autoimmune diseases tend to run in families, a specific type of autoimmune disease is not usually inherited. More commonly, there may be five family members who develop five different autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune disease symptoms:
Autoimmune conditions have similar characteristics. They are all serious chronic conditions with an underlying problem in the immune system. The symptoms of many autoimmune diseases that I personally see in clinical practice or that I think are probably the most common ones are:
- Fatigue, cold intolerance, weight gain
- Joint or muscle pain or weakness
- Low-grade fever
- Weight loss, insomnia, heat intolerance, or rapid heartbeat
- Difficult concentrating or focusing
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Hair loss or white patches on skin or inside mouth
- Skin rashes or hives, sun sensitivity
- Abdominal pain, blood or mucus in stools, diarrhoea, or mouth ulcers
- Dry eyes, mouth, or skin
The Factors that most affect your immune system:
While autoimmune disease causes are not fully understood, there are many factors believed to trigger autoimmune reactions, including:
- Chronic stress
- Dietary choices
- Immune system reactions to food proteins
- Gut health and ‘leaky gut’
- Infectious agents such as viral or bacterial infections
- Toxins such as heavy metals (mercury, lead, aluminium, arsenic) or mycotoxins
This is why an autoimmune disorder requires a personalised approach; two people can have the same disorder for different reasons. For example, they may be from different cultures, have different genetics, eat different foods, and are exposed to different environmental factors and stressors.
What is the treatment for Autoimmune Disease?
Traditional medical treatment of autoimmune disease is focusing on using drugs to control the overactive immune response and bring down inflammation or at least reduce pain and inflammation.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove tissue that has become badly damaged by the inflammation.
How I can help you as nutritional therapist
As we know now, that all autoimmune diseases are a problem of the immune system. By addressing the root causes above you restore your immune system. Then, once your optimal immune function has been restored and your body is no longer attacking itself, your symptoms lessen or even disappear completely.
I have specially designed an Autoimmune Protocol that may help you get to the root cause of your symptoms. The Autoimmune Protocol is packed with step-by-step resources that will allow you to deal with the root causes and support your immune system.