One of the most common conditions that Americans with is an autoimmune disease. This occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the healthy tissues of the body. A staggering 50 million Americans are thought to be affected by an autoimmune condition! Also, autoimmunity is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women up to 64 years of age. Many of those who have an autoimmune disease are not even aware they have it.
Common signs of this inflammatory reaction include redness, swelling, as well as pain. Symptoms such as fatigue and fever are also common symptoms. Autoimmune diseases can affect every part of the body, including the brain, nerves, heart, blood vessels, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, liver, glands, and digestive tract. No wonder researchers have identified between 80-100 autoimmune diseases with the possibility of another 40 or so having an autoimmune component!
Autoimmune diseases you may be familiar with include Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Scleroderma, and Psoriasis.
There are different medical theories as to why autoimmune diseases occur. Approximately 20% of the population has a genetic predisposition to autoimmunity. However, there are likely several “triggers” that integrative doctors such as ourselves address. Triggers or causative agents may include chronic infections (e.g., viral infections, gum disease, Lyme Disease, and others), imbalanced microbiome in the digestive tract (where 70% of the immune cell activity occurs), unhealthy intestinal lining known as increased permeability (where protein particles and bacteria can be improperly absorbed into the bloodstream causing an immune reaction), food allergies or sensitivities (particularly gluten), environmental toxins (toxic metals, pesticides, etc.), and hormone imbalances.
We help patients prevent and treat autoimmune diseases by addressing underlying causative factors and using holistic protocols to reduce inflammation and improve immune system regulation. In some cases, we also use Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) to help with immune modulation.
For patients on conventional drug therapies for autoimmunity, we work to address underlying causative factors and provide complementary therapies for a better quality of life.