Autoimmune Diseases: What YOU Can Do To Prevent Them
By Panorea White
An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system is overactive and attacks your own healthy cells. Normally, your immune system defends your body from invaders like a virus, bacteria, or cancer.
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), approximately 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease. There are 80 types of autoimmune diseases and it is possible to have more than one at the same time. Some autoimmune diseases can have the same characteristics, while many affect different parts of the body or tissues.
Once you have an autoimmune disease, traditional medical treatment is usually geared toward relieving the symptoms.
Currently, what causes an autoimmune disease is also unknown by the medical community. There is some speculation of family related causation, but that is still unclear. There are still many studies being done on that particular cause. One thing’s for certain though, at the root is inflammation, something that can be helped with proper diet and lifestyle.
There are various theories on what triggers autoimmune disorders. One very valid theory is that environmental exposure has an impact on someone’s immunity. According to Dr. George Piligian at Mount Sinai Medical Center, environmental exposure can be categorized as:
- Substances found in one’s occupational environment.
- Substances found in the environment in general.
Such exposure is complex in that genes can be modified by how the body reacts to the environment. This is in the realm of epigenetics – changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression. Epigenetics have also been explained and written about in detail by Dr. Bruce Lipton.
While removing common triggers – by way of chemicals, etc. – is a great theory, this can be tricky to pinpoint exactly which one is bothering the host. This is also contingent on the individual and his/her own unique genes. This is one reason why it is so difficult to come to a conclusion of the particular root cause to many autoimmune diseases.
However, another theory is that autoimmune disorders/diseases are a symptom of adrenal dysfunction, which is caused by chronic mental, emotional and physical stress combined.
Adrenals are glands located on top of your kidneys and they produce hormones, one being cortisol, which is a stress hormone. If a person’s life is extremely stressful, it can be taxing on the adrenal glands, thus causing an overproduction of hormones throughout the body.
This is done to the point where your adrenals can no longer produce sufficient hormones. This, in turn, causes adrenal fatigue and it affects the entire body since certain hormones are needed to regulate different functions in the body. Keep in mind that your adrenals are part of your endocrine system, which is also home to your thyroid and hormones. Your endocrine system plays a huge role is your overall health.
Therefore, when someone suffers adrenal fatigue, they can develop any of the 80 types of autoimmune diseases that exist. The body’s response is usually one of inflammation in any of the healthy tissues, bones, cartilage and/or organs.
In Western medicine, you are prescribed medicine to suppress your immune system even further. In many cases, this can make the situation worse, because it can wipe out your immune system altogether, leaving you open to other illnesses.
A more holistic (natural) approach would be to support your adrenals. According to pubmed.gov, Vitamin C is a very important nutrient for proper adrenal health. My advice is to avoid synthetic Vitamin C since it is unstable. Always opt for the most natural supplement you can find.
The highest source of Vitamin C is in amla berries and it happens to be the most stable. You can get supplements at the health food stores from amla berries, camu camu, acerola cherry or a combination, which are all excellent sources of Vitamin C. Another great supplement for treating adrenal fatigue is bee pollen, which is high in pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid is in the family of B vitamins.
A couple of herbs that serve well in the aid of treating adrenal fatigue are ashwagandha and schisandra berries, known adaptogens, which means that they are natural substances considered to help the body adapt and support the body where needed (these guys are pretty smart!).
Another herb worth mentioning is nettle because it reduces inflammation. When deciding to use these or any other herbal supplement, please check with your doctor first since it can interact with other medications you may be taking.
In conclusion, although easier said than done, the most important thing you can do is limit stress. Please keep in mind that, if your health is suffering by associating with certain people, it is crucial for you to remove them from your life. This may seem drastic, but it is necessary when it comes to your own health and well being.
Furthermore, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Within that 8 hours, it is vital to be sleeping within the hours of 10 pm to 3 am, because that is when your body heals and regenerates.
These suggestions will change your life for the better, whether you already have an autoimmune disease or are looking to prevent one from ever becoming your reality.
Panorea White works as a part-time Freelance Writer and Editor for video in Los Angeles. After completing her B.S. in Political Science, Panorea went on to Law School, but later realized it was not the career route she wanted to take. Experience in writing was something that was gained throughout the years of her education. However, her love for writing never ended and that’s why she pursued a career in it.
Through her own personal health journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she has gained a wealth of knowledge and she’s eager to share it with the world.
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