13 Signs You Have An Autoimmune Disease (And How To Reverse It)
By Jenna Barrington
Autoimmune conditions are becoming more and more common in our modern society. Most likely you or someone close to you is suffering from one of these emotionally and physically exhausting disorders.
Although autoimmune disease is more common among women – men, women and children can potentially develop one of these conditions and it is believed there are about 50 million sufferers in America alone.
Some well-known autoimmune diseases include:
Autoimmune diseases are one of the top ten causes of death among women under 65 years of age. They are a major issue and it is important for you to become aware and knowledgeable about them so that you can start lowering the statistics!
What Is An Autoimmune Disease?
Although symptoms vary greatly among different autoimmune disorders, they are similar in that they are all caused by too much inflammation and are an immune response that causes the body to attack itself.
When you have an autoimmune disorder, your body fails to tell the difference between a toxin, an infection, a food and the tissues of your body.
Your immune system is a powerful defensive weapon designed specifically to keep you alive! When something causes it to misfire, it can cause great distress to your organs and body in general.
What Causes Autoimmune Diseases?
There is definitely a genetic tendency towards the development of an autoimmune condition. Beyond that, there is not a lot of evidence pointing to this-or-that as being the cause/trigger.
Some theories include:
It can be agreed that there are many factors that may contribute to one developing an autoimmune disease.
The good news is, healing is possible. Although you may not find a “cure” to your problem, you can certainly live a life that is free of symptoms.
13 Signs You May Have An Autoimmune Disease
1. Consistent/recurring joint and/or muscle pain
2. Unexplainable weight loss or weight gain
4. Intolerance to heat
5. Recurrent rashes, hives or extreme sun sensitivity
6. Regular mental fogginess
7. Consistent/unexplainable fatigue
8. Hair loss
9. White patches on skin and/or inside mouth
10. Abdominal pain accompanied by poor digestion, diarrhea and blood in stool
11. Constant dry eyes, mouth and skin
12. Numbness anywhere in your body
13. Multiple unexplained miscarriages
What You Should Do
If you suspect you may have an autoimmune disease or if there is a history of them in your family, there are some important steps you can take to stop/reverse/prevent symptoms from ruling your life.
1. Identify The Underlying Cause
Many doctors work to treat symptoms, but never find and/or address the root of the issue. No one wants to be a slave to meds the rest of their life and true healing will only come when you are able to dig deep, find the cause and address it head on.
Now, finding the cause may not be easy. Symptoms can be confusing and unique depending on the individual and may be affecting one or multiple organs or bodily systems. But don’t get discouraged! As you take responsibility and find the right professionals to support you, you will make progress.
2. Take Responsibility
Ultimately, you are responsible for your own health. You know how you feel better than anyone else does. Doctors aren’t perfect and they need patients who are actively involved in discovering their own ways to great health and vitality.
Do your own research. Really think about your diet and lifestyle and what may be contributing to your illness. When you go to the doctor, be ready with questions and thoughts about what may be the root of your struggles. Work hard to find a professional who is skilled and willing to LISTEN to you.
Consider a doctor who is trained in integrative and/or functional medicine.
When a doctor gives you their opinion, do more research. Meditate on how their opinion feels to you. Many autoimmune conditions are misdiagnosed. Trust your own intuition. Again, you know yourself better than anyone else.
Be open to changing your diet and lifestyle. It is not always the easy answer, but it is usually the right one.
3. Know That You Are Strong Enough
Being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition can be overwhelming.
I want you to know that you are a POWERFUL SOUL. You wouldn’t have been given this challenge if it didn’t have a purpose in your life.
Take it as an opportunity to get more in tune with your body. I know a lot of you are busy taking care of lots of other people (kids, partners, friends, family, relatives, neighbors). Maybe this is a wake up call for you to dig deep, take some time for yourself and embark on a personal journey of healing and growth.
Remember, healing is possible.
A Few Tips
- Eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet. Sugar, vegetable oils, trans fats, dairy, commercial meat, alcohol, refined grains, food additives (MSG, aspartame, etc.) and foods that you are particularly sensitive to.
- Get tested for problems in your gut. Hippocrates taught that all disease begins in the gut. Almost every single person who has an autoimmune disease also has a weakness and/or imbalance in their gut. I recommend being tested for celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, leaky gut syndrome and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
- Focus on HEALING YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. There are a lot of things you can do to start taking better care of your gut. Take a high quality probiotic daily. Implement more probiotic rich foods into your diet. Eliminate foods that are unnatural and disturb your gut’s microbiome (processed foods, gluten, refined and added sugars, legumes, artificial colorings and flavorings, chemicals, etc.).
- Get tested for heavy metal toxicity. If you are found to have high levels of metals in your system, take steps to detoxify. Chelation is an effective way to remove heavy metals as well as adding superfoods like chlorella, cilantro, wheatgrass, spirulina and lemon to your diet.
- Learn to reduce and eliminate unneeded stress from your life. Our modern society is extremely fast paced and it is easy to get overwhelmed and chronically stressed. A lot of people live in a state of stress and think that it is normal. Stress can take years off your life and is often an underlying cause to illness and disease. Learn techniques to get rid of the stress in your life. Learn to say no. Learn to let go.
I know how scary and confusing it can be to receive an unexpected (or expected) diagnosis. My heart goes out to you and/or to those you love who are suffering. Don’t let fear pull you down. YOU CAN DO THIS. I have seen so many people improve their lives drastically through the steps I’ve listed above.
Find support. Take responsibility. Start your journey to wellness today. I know you can do it.
And never forget: we’re all in this together.
Jenna Barrington is studying Therapeutic Nutrition and Holistic Medicine and aspires to be a practitioner, teacher and writer. She is passionate about education and helping others take control of their health.
Jenna lives with her husband in Utah and loves writing, cooking, green smoothies, training her dog, Japanese, spending time at the ocean, bungee jumping, walking barefoot in the grass and being with her family.
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