Autoimmune Disease ~
An autoimmune disease is any sort of disease developing due to
the body's immune system "attacking" its own tissue. For different
people this results in different diseases. In some people, the body
may have a tendency to attack the joints and they develop
Rheumatoid Arthritis. In others, the body's tendency may lead to
an attack on the thyroid and they develop either Hashimoto's
thyroiditis or Graves' disease. In some people it's the nerves,
leading to Multiple Sclerosis. And so on...
The reasoning behind why one person's body may be prone to
attacking joints versus the thyroid versus the nerves and so on is
not completely understood, but likely has to do with the mixture of unique genetics, health history, and environmental exposure to different "toxins" (pollution, heavy metals, infections, etc.) of each individual.
Having an autoimmune disease does not mean that your body is broken or is punishing you for some wrong doing from the past. Your body has simply become confused as to what to do in order to keep you healthy. In most cases, the immune system has become confused due to long term, or chronic, inflammation.
Inflammation has recently become increasingly referred to as the root cause of disease, and has been linked especially to the development of autoimmune disease. Generally, when we think of inflammation, we think about an injury such as a cut or sprain. In these instances, there is visible swelling and redness as the body recruits all sorts of healing mechanisms into the area to help you heal.
But what about the inflammation we can't so easily see or feel? How about inflammation that builds up more slowly? There are many causes of inflammation that are so common in our every day lives we tend to forget they are an issue at all. For example, some of the largest contributors to inflammation in the body include;
~ A lack of sleep
~ Inflammatory diet and/or GI infections
~ Lack of exercise and stretching
~ History of viral infections, such as mono (EBV) or herpes
~ Heavy metal or other environmental toxin exposure
Many of the conventional treatment options for autoimmune diseases include medications, many with significant risks of side effects, and/or surgery. But there is much more we can do when we look at the body as a whole and not just as a diagnosis.
There are many ways in which we can work together to optimize different parts of your lifestyle in order to help bring more stability into your life with an autoimmune disease. Focusing on health optimization instead of just symptom reduction can allow you to live your life more fully and enjoy all the things you enjoy!