Autoimmune Disease Explained
When your immune system attacks itself
Autoimmune diseases affect millions of Americans every single day. In fact, there are actually more than 100 such disorders.
While the symptoms are often different, the diseases are all united by one common theme. Each one is brought on when a person’s own immune cells target the body’s healthy tissues and organs instead of attacking external bacteria and viruses.
Scientists have recently discovered something else:
These particular cells ‘go rogue’ by getting around so-called checkpoints that would normally stop your immune cells from attacking your own body.
While this new information is helpful for the quest to eradicate autoimmune disease, there still are no known cures at this time. And because the immune system of someone with an autoimmune disease is busy producing antibodies that are detrimental to their health, treatments tend to focus on reducing the immune system’s activity.
The Root Causes
The direct cause of autoimmune disorders remains unknown. But scientists say there are definitely environmental factors, meaning that exposure to toxic chemicals can trigger autoimmune responses.
Another theory is that if you damage your joints and tissues, the injury may cause autoimmune responses.
A third possible cause is your genetics. If you have a family member with Lupus, for example, your risk of acquiring them is higher. But it's important to note that just because your family has autoimmunity, it doesn’t mean you'll be locked to a lifelong battle of your own. It does mean, however, that you have an added risk factor. Armed with that knowledge, you can empower yourself to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Many people with autoimmune disorders suffer from a so-called, leaky gut. It's essentially damaged intestines that have small holes in them. Experts have not yet found a cause for leaky gut, but they believe there’s a correlation between leaky gut and autoimmune disease because 80% of our immune system is found in the gut.
But one thing we do know is that the root cause for a person's autoimmune disorder tends to be a ‘perfect storm’ of factors that include stress, environmental exposure, poor/inflammatory diet, injury, and genetic predisposition.
One significant trigger of autoimmune disease, particularly for women, is mental and emotional stress. This can be a HUGE trigger for many people. The number of women whose autoimmune disease “pops up” after a traumatic divorce or another extremely stressful life event is astounding and not talked about enough.
With so many types of autoimmune disorders, they can have negative effects on various organs and tissue types including muscles, connective tissues, blood vessels, red blood cells, endocrine glands including the thyroid or pancreas, or the skin.
Without a cure, it’s vital for people who suffer from autoimmune diseases to make sure they’re eating the right foods. They should avoid foods that cause sensitivities like sugar, most dairy, and gluten. That’s why eating an anti-inflammatory diet, like the Mediterranean diet, is a wise lifestyle choice.
Regular exercise is also key to keeping inflammation at bay.
It’s also important for those with autoimmune disorders to cut their exposure to toxins. While it’s likely been difficult to avoid cleaning solutions during the pandemic, we are also exposed to toxins through our water, food, and the air we breathe.
Reducing your overall toxic load can be a daunting task to take on alone, however. Click here to set up a free consultation with me to learn how to do it!
When I was diagnosed at age 21 with the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s disease, I learned I was among the people who are predisposed to such diseases. My mom has suffered from both Hashimoto’s and thyroid cancer too.
With a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes, I’ve been able to manage and even transcend my health problems. And I would love to be able to do the same for you or anyone you know who suffers from an autoimmune condition.
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To your health,
The content on heartroothealth.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.