Support Your Health by being Aware of Autoimmunity and Proactive in Preventing its Effects
Autoimmunity is a health concern that is widespread, but often misunderstood. Let’s take a closer look at this condition. There are steps you can take to maintain the health of your immune system and prevent and autoimmune disease.
The role of the immune system is to protect the body from dangerous invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. When functioning normally, the immune system identifies threats and distinguishes them from the tissue of the body. It then attacks the harmful invaders. A dysfunction of the immune system, called Autoimmunity, occurs when the body is unable to distinguish between self and non-self tissues. The immune system begins to attack the body itself leading to the destruction and loss of healthy tissues.
Autoimmunity is on the rise, and we should all be cognisant and aware of how we can either prevent this dysfunction in our bodies or work through it if we are showing signs of the process.
For a better idea of the prevalence of autoimmunity, here are some facts:
The National Institutes of Health estimates up to 23.5 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease and that the prevalence is rising.
Researchers have identified 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis.
Some of these include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, Lupus, Celiac, Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimoto’s Disease, Grave’s Disease, and many more.
These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening. Autoimmune disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women in all age groups up to 64 years of age.
All of us have some autoimmunity that occurs in our bodies, but it is when this process increases that destructive patterns occur. The stages of autoimmunity include Silent Autoimmunity, Autoimmune Reactivity and Autoimmune Disease. During Silent Autoimmunity, a person loses self-tolerance to their own tissue and antibodies in their immune system are elevated. As the process continues into Autoimmune Reactivity, there is early tissue destruction causing subtle yet noticeable symptoms. Eventually this leads to an Autoimmune Disease in which there is a significant loss of tissues impairing body function and creating significant symptoms.
So what causes autoimmunity and what can be done? Autoimmunty is connected to both genetics and environmental factors. Pollutants, toxins, hormonal changes, immune-reactive dietary proteins, infections, and stress responses are all environmental factors that can cause immune dysregulation. It is important to see the early signs of autoimmunity and tend to the issue quickly so that further damage does not occur. Although there are no definite cures for autoimmunity, lifestyle plays a huge role in either promoting or dampening autoimmune activity.
If one is experiencing autoimmunity here are some lifestyle considerations:
Steer clear of...
Lack of Sleep
Drops in Blood Glucose
Gluten and Cross-Reactive Foods
Poor Social Relationships
And instead, welcome these into your life:
Love and appreciation
Stable Blood Glucose
A Healthy Diet
Although these considerations may seem like nice suggestions simply based on common sense, they are actually backed by scientific, research-based reasons. It’s pretty amazing! Listen to this. The positive mental attitude that comes from love and appreciation releases opioids in the body, thus activating TH-3 cells in the immune system which decreases autoimmune activity. On the other hand, a negative attitude, internal or external stress, and poor relationships increase the production of interleukin-6 in the body, thus activating the TH-17 response which increase autoimmunity. Our bodies are so interconnected! The way we feel and the emotions we experience directly affect our body’s function.
All of these considerations affect the immune system’s function, and thus paying close attention to one’s lifestyle is of great importance for those with autoimmunity.
Here at Health in Balance, we use several examinations including the Cyrex blood test in order to test for autoimmune markers. We then look into environmental and lifestyle factors including food allergies, toxicity, mental-emotional components, and stress levels that may affect autoimmunity. From there, we are able to counsel patients on the most important lifestyle changes in order to keep the autoimmunity under control and to prevent further damage.
Schedule an appointment and begin to begin your journey toward healing. We want to see you living your best life!