Over 50 million Americans, a large percentage being women, are affected by autoimmune conditions. They are considered a top 10 leading cause of death in women under the age of 65.

Diseases of the immune system include rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, thyroid disease, lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, and many more.

While the signs and symptoms are as varied as the types of autoimmune disorders, they all have one thing in common: they are response to widespread inflammation causing a person’s immune system to attack itself.

Under normal conditions, one’s immune system protects the body from potential damage caused by toxins, infections, allergens, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and other dangers.

In the case of an autoimmune disease, the immune system fails to differentiate between an intruder and your own body. As a result, antibodies are produced which mistakenly destroy the body’s cells. This creates havoc on the entire system. Damaged caused by resulting widespread inflammation affects organs, tissues and glands systemically.

There are many underlying factors that trigger the autoimmune response. While there may be genetic factors at play, whether or not a condition manifests at all frequently depends on a multitude of other factors. These include heavy metals such as mercury; toxins from molds; viruses associated with herpes simplex and mono; inflammation to food sensitivities such as gluten; vitamin and mineral deficiencies; side-effects from drugs; and chemicals found in household or commercial products for example.

Finding out what may be contributing to an impaired immune system is not easy. Symptoms are varied and sometimes vague.

Multiple organs including the brain, thyroid, gut, and skin may be affected. Age, chronicity and lifestyle play a role whether or not the autoimmune response is turn on or not.

While there is place for allopathic services, including the functional medicine paradigm will guide a patient towards the process of whole body healing versus merely mitigating symptoms with drugs. With a comprehensive health history review and specific lab testing, we can shed light on the causes of autoimmunity. Next, using nutrition and lifestyle modification, the possibility of minimizing the risk of a full blown autoimmune response is quite possible.

Signs and symptoms often associated with autoimmune disease:
  • Joint pain, muscle pain, muscle weakness or tremor
  • Weight loss, insomnia, heat intolerance, rapid heartrate
  • Rashes, hives, sun sensitivity
  • Fatigue, changes in weight, cold intolerance
  • Dry eyes, mouth, or skin
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Multiple miscarriages or blood clots
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