What is Autoimmune Disease?
The immune system will normally respond to a pathogen like a cold virus, attack it and remove it from the body. Once removed, the immune system can revert to its normal state and all is well. When the body does not recognize parts of itself as self, it begins to produce antibodies and enters a state of autoimmunity. It will "attack" its own tissues.
Examples of the 80 and counting autoimmune disorders include:
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Seventy-five percent or more of the millions of Americans with autoimmune disorders are female. "Young women, especially, are often not taken seriously when they first begin consulting their doctors for their vague symptoms and are often shunted from specialist to specialist."
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise. According to pubmed.com "Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 8% of the population, 78% of whom are women. The reasons for the high prevalence in women are unknown, but circumstantial evidence links autoimmune diseases with preceding infections. Autoimmune diseases are the third most common category of disease in the United States after cancer and heart disease; they affect approximately 5%–8% of the population or 14–22 million persons."
Each disease is unique, however many share symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, and low-grade fever. Symptoms may come and go and be mild or severe at times. Remission or flares can happen at any time. Remission is when the symptoms go away for a while but can back at any time. Flares can be brought on by illness, lack of sleep and stress.
What Trigger's Autoimmune Disease?
According to Dr. Stephanie Davis, "The triggers that produce autoimmunity often occur together with the immune system responding to multiple ‘insults’ at the same time, since chronic inflammation mediates this process. Identifying the triggers and eliminating them is the key to reversing inflammation, calming the immune system, and shutting down the AI process."
Common triggers of autoimmunity are:
Dysbiosis and infection (imbalance between the beneficial/harmful organisms in your body)
For women, it seems there is a correlation between iodine depletion and some of these autoimmune diseases. I found an excellent article that talks about women in childbearing years having autoimmune diseases. It was too large to quote from so I will share the link HERE. Don't forget to look at vaccinations, whether they are yearly like a flu shot or not like tetanus.
Another great article written but the author of this book can be found HERE. If you are suffering from any symptoms of autoimmunity, I highly recommend this book. As she states in her article, "There are answers. However, you just aren't likely to hear them from the typical HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) doctor, who may not even recognize or easily diagnose many autoimmune conditions, much less know how to treat them - particularly given the constraints of the HMO mandated 15 minute or less appointment."
"Trusting your instincts is a critical first step. But some of us are our own worst enemies. We accept is as a given that after pregnancy, or during menopause, or when we hit our 60's, we're bound to lose hair, suffer from appetite and weight changes, feel weak, lose our sex drive, or be unable to sleep through the night. We assume that bone-numbing fatigue is a by-product of a busy schedule and chronic lack of sleep. We look for quick fixes to each problem. We get depressed so we take antidepressants. We gain weight so we make diet changes. We have muscle pains and aches, so we take pain relievers. We don't put the clues together ourselves, so we miss the big picture."
What Can YOU do to Help Yourself?
Making diet changes, researching vaccines and efficacy, reducing over-use of antibiotics, adding supplements to your daily routine, reduce stress, meditate, clean eating by avoiding GMO's, packaged foods and pesticides, exercise, sleep, proper water consumption and finding a hobby or something you love to do. Most importantly have a good support system. They will help you get through this emotionally and help you keep going when you want to quit.
Recommended supplements are listed on Dr. Stephanie Davis' site. I agree with them all, however probiotics can make an autoimmune issue worse. Please be careful introducing them into your routine. You can read about it more on my Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics article.
Look into essential oils, herbs, homeopathy, CBD and other natural forms of healing. Please be very careful with essential oils and herbs. Consult with a professional as anything that stimulates an immune response can send the immune system into overdrive causing issues with the disease.
My twin is going through this battle right now. She was on 12 prescriptions to "manage" the flares. Which didn't. She has so many side effects from all the medications, she couldn't handle it. She spoke to her doctor and has been weaned off many of them. She also incorporated herbs and homeopathy into her routine, which is helping.
You don't have to suffer. There are things that you yourself can do to heal the body. A diagnosis doesn't have to be something that becomes part of who you are. Fight it. Don't give up, do your research and always do your best.
Should you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not have to fight this alone. Look for support groups in your area. There are many groups like this on Facebook as well. I wish you health and happiness.
Love and light,
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