First and foremost, run, don’t walk, to a functional medicine practitioner who specializes in autoimmunity and inflammation. A conventionally trained doctor will help you manage symptoms but that’s about it. Here are some examples:
You have Hashimoto’s. You’re fortunate to even know because often doctors don’t tell you it’s an autoimmune disease, they tell you it’s “hypothyroidism.” News flash: It’s not your thyroid, it’s your immune system. You’re told to watch and wait until it’s time to go on thyroid hormones. Meanwhile, your immune system continues to attack and destroy your thyroid. Thyroid hormones do not put Hashimoto’s into remission.
You have Type 1 diabetes. You obsess on blood sugar and insulin balance and are told diet is key – but the diet information may be off-target. You’re given insulin and/or other diabetes medications. None of these put Type 1 diabetes into remission. Your immune system continues to destroy your pancreas beta cells. Diabetes medications do not put the autoimmune attack into remission.
You have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). You get various drugs to suppress your immune system and prevent joint destruction. Perhaps you take joint protection supplements like glucosamine or fish oil. None of these drugs or supplements put RA into remission, they only stop the downstream effects. If you don’t
balance your immune system, your drug dosage stays the same for life. Then when the drugs stop working you move to different ones.
All the other autoimmune diseases
This is the same story for any autoimmune disease you can think of. Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, Lupus, Sjogren’s, Celiac, etc. There’s now evidence that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis are autoimmune in nature.
In fact, what doctor do you
What is missing here?
The elephant in the room is your immune system! It’s confused and wigging out (a medical term of course). There is a trigger, typically a combination of genetics with environmental factors. And here’s what you aren’t told: something CAN be done about it!
Why do something about it?
If you want to avoid the hamster wheel of managing medications and enduring continued tissue destruction, then getting to the root of the problem may interest you. With active autoimmunity, there’s always inflammation, which stresses your body in many ways (like making you fat, fatigued, brain-fogged, anxious and many more things you don’t want). But actually what you may not realize is when your immune system is out of control, there is absolutely nothing to stop it from attacking even more parts of yourself!
We know that those with autoimmunity have a greater likelihood of collecting more autoimmune diseases. Hashimoto’s and Celiac. Type 1 Diabetes and Colitis. Hashimoto’s and PCOS. Fibromyalgia and Crohn’s. And so forth. Autoimmunity tends to multiply if your immune system is not regulated.
These self-attacks always start low before they go high. We can make antibodies against virtually any body tissue (nerves, brain, myelin nerve sheath, intestinal lining, …). These antibodies can be detected early on, however, they typically aren’t measured until symptoms are full blown and antibodies are high.
Can you get rid of autoimmune diseases forever?
No. Once your immune system creates T cells that tag your body tissue as a foreign invader, those “memory” cells are there forever. But, the good news is that you can do all sorts of things to regulate your immune system and make the autoimmunity go dormant. So that is the key here: remission, dormancy, latency. And we functional practitioners do this through balancing your immune system.
What is a balanced immune system?
When we identify, reduce and control your immune triggers, your
Next, we want the specific actions of your T cells to be balanced. We quiet the immune cells that create tissue destruction and inflammation. We support the ones that fight infections and inflammation. It can be that simple. With the right tests, assessment and treatment protocol.
When you regulate your immune system, you may be able to reduce or go off medications. It’s your best chance to stay free from MORE autoimmune diseases. And generally, you feel much better overall and are able to have a balanced life with low stress, good food, deep sleep, clear thinking, even-keel moods, steady energy, and the ability to exercise.
I’ll delve into the steps of testing, assessment, and treatment with a functional medicine approach in next week’s blog, so stay tuned…..