Although there are many different types of autoimmune diseases and they can affect many different organs, at their core, they are all similar in that they are an immune response caused by systemic inflammation that leads your body to attack itself. Your immune system has a very sophisticated process for keeping you safe that leads it to identify all of the foreign substances that enter your body or what you come into contact with. If your immune system deems anything dangerous, it will produce antibodies to ward off the harmful intruders. Autoimmune diseases are born when your body is working hard to defend itself against something potentially dangerous, such as an allergen, a toxin, an infection, or even a food, and it fails to differentiate between the intruder and parts of your own body. Mistaking certain types of tissues for harmful substances, your body turns these antibodies against itself, wreaking havoc on your organs.
Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as asthma, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, eczema and psoriasis can be overwhelming. While you may have many questions about treatment and how to manage your condition, a few myths can complicate the full picture. Let’s dispel a few myths about managing your autoimmune disorder.
Myth 1: Your Diet Has Nothing to do with Your Illness
Conventional medicine will tell you that you have an autoimmune disease simply because your immune system is over reactive. What is often left out of the picture is that your diet can be making your symptoms worse. Chronic gut inflammation, food sensitivities, low-grade gut infection and toxic chemicals in our diet are thought to be related to our increased incidence of autoimmunity. Addressing gut dysfunction and food sensitivities are critical aspects of healing and thriving with autoimmune diseases.
Myth 2: You are Destined for a Life of Disease and Disability
Statistics show that autoimmune disorders are one of the top causes of disease and disability today. However, that does not have to be the case. By finding a functional medicine practitioner and a trusted medical team, you can approach your autoimmune disease to treat your entire body, mind and spirit. A multifaceted approach that includes diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can not only give symptomatic relief but also change your outlook on your diagnoses and health.
Myth 3: Prescription Medications are Your Only Hope
Oftentimes, patients believe that prescription medications are their only hope in relieving symptoms associated with their diagnoses. While prescription medications can be necessary in cases of severe autoimmunity, supplements like probiotics, vitamin D, turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the inflammation and aid your immune system. Taking nutrients to heal the gut lining and finding supplements to support current therapies can help ease autoimmune inflammation. Mind-body interventions such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture may also help.
Finding a health practitioner to help you approach your autoimmune disorder with a variety of methods such as your diet, your stress level, sleep habits, and reducing your toxic exposures can be key to unlocking restored health and wellness.
Sources: drfranklipman.com, mindbodygreen.com