AUTOIMMUNITY: IMMUNE SYSTEM GONE ROGUE
The immune system is your defense against invaders. It is your personal army, guns loaded, ready to strike in an instant against any foreign attack. The immune system functions with precision, speed & accuracy. Autoimmunity, however, occurs when your immune system can’t distinguish friend from foe and starts to attack itself. The result of this systemic assault is massive inflammation and tissue or organ destruction. Think of it as a machine gun doing what it is supposed to do—-shooting at infections, allergens, toxins, a food– only it ricochets and attacks your gut, your joints, your thyroid, your skin or your whole body.
Surprisingly, recent research has determined that Parkinson’s Disease, autism and some forms of asthma are autoimmune conditions. Even though it’s estimated that about 24 million people in the U.S. have autoimmunity, it can be frustrating to obtain a diagnosis and treatment. The conventional medicine community views autoimmune disease like having a cold, as something you have, or something you do not have. But autoimmunity is a SPECTRUM disorder which progresses in phases, with the early phases having no symptoms to treat. By the time symptoms develop, organ damage may have already occurred. It is crucial to detect and treat an autoimmune condition as early as possible. Functional Medicine practitioners have the tools to do just that.
ALTHOUGH THERE ARE OVER SEVEN DOZEN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, THE MOST COMMON ONES INCLUDE:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis-A chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet
- Lupus-An inflammatory disease caused when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs
- Celiac Disease-An immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye
- Sjögren’s Syndrome-An immune system disorder characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth
- Multiple Sclerosis-A disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves
- Ankylosing Spondylitis-An inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints
- Type 1 Diabetes-A condition in which the cells that produce insulin are destroyed
- Alopecia Areata-Sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis- A condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland
- Crohn’s Disease-A chronic inflammatory disease in the gastrointestinal tract lining
WHAT CAN I DO IF I MIGHT HAVE AN AUTOIMMUNE CONDITION?
The good news is that resolving autoimmunity is absolutely possible. The key to finding answers for your autoimmunity is working with the right Functional Medicine practitioner who can uncover the triggers causing your overactive immune response. We explain how the different organs in your body are being affected, but also how to effectively eliminate these triggers before organs are destroyed. We then work together to create a personalized plan which will halt the all-out attack on your body, heal the assaulted tissues, and calm the inflammation. Read about my own struggle with autoimmune disease.