Everything You Need To Know About Autoimmune Diseases
Written by: Kat Gal
When I was growing up, I had never heard of autoimmune diseases. It was not because I was only a child, it was because autoimmune conditions were actually much more rare back then.
Unfortunately, things took a wrong turn at some point in time and autoimmune diseases are becoming an epidemic with more and more people being diagnosed each year in our modern world.
What Are Autoimmune Diseases?
Autoimmune diseases can destroy healthy cells. They can also cause abnormal organ growth and a variety of serious dysfunctions in your body.
There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions out there, including:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Celiac disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus
- Addison’s disease
- Graves disease
- Pernicious anemia
- Type 1 diabetes
What Are the Symptoms Of Autoimmune Diseases?
Autoimmune diseases can have a large variety of symptoms that affect your blood vessels, joints, endocrine system, connective tissues, red blood cells, muscles and skin. Basically, symptoms can manifest throughout your entire body.
Autoimmune diseases can be tricky, as symptoms can fluctuate between remission and flare-ups. One day you may feel like you’re on the top of the world, while the next you may feel like it is the end.
Symptoms may include:
- General fatigue
- Chronic low-grade fever
- Joint pain
- Overall ill feeling
Is There A Cure for Autoimmune Diseases?
Unfortunately, modern medicine has found no cure so far for autoimmune disorders. Medication prescribed is usually used to control your autoimmune response and to suppress symptoms to make you feel better.
Holistic practitioners warn against the use of anti-inflammatories, over-the-counter medications (eg. ibuprofen), steroids, TNF alpha blockers (eg. Enbrel) and immunosuppressants (eg. methotrexate), as they can lead to further health issues, including kidney failure, depression, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer and intestinal bleeding.
Basically, modern medical treatments may lead to even more issues and pain than your actual autoimmune condition can.
Why Are Autoimmune Conditions Happening?
If you have an autoimmune condition, it basically means that your body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistaking it for disease. In other words, your own body is turning against you.
This is true for every single autoimmune condition out there. No matter how different they are, in all cases, the body’s immune system attacks its own cells, organs and glands as if they were foreign invaders. Since nothing happens by chance in your body, there must be a reason for this.
Let’s consider food first. Food’s purpose is to fuel your body. It becomes your blood that will end up feeding and creating your new cells.
But if you are feeding your system with chemicals, pesticides and other unnatural harmful substances, no wonder your body gets confused. All that unnatural, harmful and processed junk will be absorbed by your body on a cellular level and become part of you.
Your body is smart: it knows that these are not nutritious, natural and healing substances and may end up attacking the cells made up as byproducts of them.
Secondly, you may want to consider leaky gut syndrome, or otherwise known as intestinal permeability. Ideally, your gut is toned and healthy, but if it isn’t, tiny food particles can leak into your system without going through the necessary process of digestion. Your immune system will view these particles as invaders and may attack them.
Lastly, consider your entire digestive system in relation to your whole body. Your entire body relies on your gut. Healthy digestion is everything. But if you are bogged down with viruses, bacteria and fungi, your body is right if it wants to attack these invaders in attempt to recreate balance.
Autoimmune conditions are complex, but that doesn’t mean that they have to control your life. Through proper diet and lifestyle, you can be in the driver’s seat again, taking control of your own health and well-being.
Here Are 3 Key Steps To Help And Prevent Autoimmune Conditions:
1. Eat Organic, Non-GMO And Natural Food. You are what you eat and if you want to live well, you need to eat food that is free from dangerous chemicals, organic, unprocessed and nourishing.
Choose a mainly plant-based diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans. It is the best to remove or reduce gluten and to choose pseudograins instead. An elimination diet or food sensitivity test can help you figure out potential food sensitivities and to remove foods your body may not like.
2. Mend Your Gut! As said, your gut is the basis of your health. Besides eating a healthy, whole foods diet, make sure to eat probiotic foods, such as sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha and take probiotic supplements, such as Biotic Balance.
Anti-inflammatory herbs, including turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, can help your gut health as well. Eat slowly and mindfully, chewing your food properly.
3. Get The Bugs Out Of Your System. This is related to your gut, but not only your gut. If you have an autoimmune condition, there is a good chance that you may have a bacterial overgrowth, a virus, a fungus, parasites, or worms overtaking your system causing problems. You can get tested for this by a naturopathic doctor, holistic clinic, or even your regular MD.
If you are dealing with these conditions, taking anti-fungal herbs, including garlic, turmeric, ginger, oregano, grapefruit seed extract and so on can be very helpful. You can find the best anti-bug protocol for your body by talking to a naturopath or other holistic health practitioner. Make sure to continue taking your probiotics.
Know that having an autoimmune disease is not the end of the world; healing, as well as a happy and healthy life, is possible for you. We are here to support you with your journey all along the way.
Do you have any autoimmune conditions? What steps have you taken towards healing? Share your experiences and questions below. As always, we’d love to hear from you.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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