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Holistic Treatment for Autoimmune Disorders
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that there are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases and more than 24 million people in the U.S. suffer from an autoimmune disease.
The Importance of a Balanced Immune System
- A healthy immune system is essential for normal growth and development and maximized longevity. It is designed to protect your body against germs. When it senses foreign danger, it becomes activated and attacks unknown germs.
- An underactive immune system may not be able to adequately defend against infections leading to a weakened body or even life-threatening consequences.
- If the immune response is activated without a real threat or is not turned off once the danger passes, this can result in autoimmunity and exaggerated allergic responses. With an autoimmune disease, your immune system overreacts and attacks healthy cells in your body. There is a loss of ability to clearly differentiate “self” from “non-self”. Autoimmune diseases can affect every part of the body and can cause loss of function, an increased risk of hospitalizations, disability, impaired quality of life, and decreased productivity.
Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases can affect every part of the body. Symptoms include –
- Low grade fever
- Muscle aches
- Loss of function
- Increased risk of hospitalizations, disability, impaired quality of life, and decreased productivity
- Inflammation causing swelling, pain, redness, and heat
Inflammation is especially troublesome to autoimmune sufferers. Systemic inflammation can increase the likelihood of autoimmune diseases and autoimmune disease flareups.
Risk Factors for Autoimmune Disease
Researchers believe that certain environmental factors and genetics are the cause of autoimmune diseases. Below are some risk factors associated with autoimmune diseases.
- Genetics – Certain genes can predispose individuals to autoimmune disorders, this explains why autoimmune diseases tend to run in families. However, it does not mean every member of the family will have an autoimmune disease.
- Weight – Being obese or overweight increases your risk of autoimmune diseases. Increased weight places stress on the joints, which can lead to inflammation and joint dysfunction, which are some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, fat tissues create substances, which can increase inflammation leading to a hyperactive immune system.
- Tobacco Products – Cigarette smoking has been linked to a plethora of autoimmune disorders, including lupus, Graves’ hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Quitting is possible and there are many wonderful smoking cessation programs available to help you break the habit and reduce your risk of autoimmune disease.
- Medications – Certain medications can trigger autoimmune diseases. For example, there are a few blood pressure medications and antibiotics that can increase the risk of developing lupus. Cholesterol lowering medications can trigger statin induced myopathy. If you are taking any of these medications, it is advisable to speak with your doctor.
Holistic Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases
Discovery – Our functional medicine clinicians do a comprehensive exam including family and social history, understand your symptoms and potential triggers for your autoimmune flare-ups.
Analysis – Some specialized tests may be ordered to do a deep dive analysis of your immune system and antibodies. This will help in finding possible root causes of your inflammation and the imbalance in the immune system instead of simply suppressing it.
Personalized Treatment Plan – There is no one-size-fits-all description of autoimmunity; it will look different for everyone. We provide a personalized treatment plan that combines the best conventional treatments with a variety of alternative therapies for optimum results.
Health Coaching and Support – Be your partner as you implement the treatment plans and recommended lifestyle changes. This includes-
- Strengthening the gut and microbiome
- Detoxifying the body of heavy metals
- Identifying food sensitivities and gluten intolerance
Ready to get started with addressing your autoimmune disorders so you can regain your health, reduce your flareups, and naturally reduce systemic inflammation?
Tips to Reduce Systemic Inflammation
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps keep the immune system healthy and balanced. When the immune system becomes unbalanced, it can begin to overreact. The inflammatory response can be triggered by extreme stress, an unhealthy diet, and poor lifestyle choices, and a sedentary lifestyle. Below are five tips to help reduce inflammation and flareups.
- Consume Anti-inflammatory Foods – Anti-inflammatory foods reduce inflammation and are considered some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Anti-inflammatory foods are high in antioxidants, polyphenols, and omega 3 fatty acids. Some of the top anti-inflammatory foods include green leafy vegetables (collard greens, kale, spinach, etc.), fatty fish (sardines, tuna, salmon, and mackerel), nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.), olive oil, avocadoes, fruits (blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and citrus fruits).
- Daily Exercise – Regular exercise helps to reduce inflammation in the body by detoxifying the body. Working up a sweat helps to release toxins. In addition to this, as your heart begins beating faster, it pushes more oxygen through the body helping to revitalize the body. For best results, get at least 30 to 45 minutes of cardio five times a week along with 15 to 25 minutes of weight training four or five times a week.
- Reduce Inflammatory Foods – Just like there are foods that help fight inflammation, there are also foods that can cause inflammation. These unhealthy foods include refined carbohydrates (pastries, white bread, etc.), processed meats (hot dogs, lunch meats, and sausages), fried foods (French fries, onion rings, etc.), red meat, unhealthy fats (margarine, lard, and shortening), soda and other sugary beverages.
- Stress Management – Chronic stress and anxiety can contribute to inflammation and increase the frequency of an autoimmune disease flare. Learning how to manage your stress levels may help reduce the number of flareups you experience. Meditation is often used to relieve your stress. This stress management technique is designed to clear your mind. Another stress relief technique is guided imagery. Other stress relief techniques include yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.
- Weight Loss – Obesity also increases the risk of several autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. A sedentary lifestyle along with a poor diet increases your waistline as well as inflammation in the body. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of autoimmune disease.
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