Why Are There So Many People With Autoimmune Disorders?
By Jim Chialtas, L.Ac. – Acupuncture, Functional Medicine, Autoimmune Disorders, Pain Management, Thyroid Conditions, Nutritional Healing, Chinese Medicine, Gluten Sensitivity – San Diego, California
If there is one thing that we can all look forward to seeing more of in the near future it is autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system begins to attack some organ or tissue in its own body. There are many reasons for an autoimmune disease to begin and once it has begun it does not turn off. Fortunately though there are ways to moderate the immune attack in such a way that the person with the condition can live a normal life. Common autoimmune disorders include:
- Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders (Hashimoto’s Thyroid, Grave’s Disease)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Type I or Autoimmune Diabetes
- Pernicious Anemia
- And much MUCH more!
Autoimmune Disease… An Immune System Problem
The most important thing to understand when you have an autoimmune condition is that this is primarily a problem with the immune system. Of course you will be diagnosed with a disease pertaining to the organ which is under attack. But treatment needs to be focused squarely on the immune system first and then on the organ under attack second. Many practitioners fail to understand this important detail and end up with less than satisfying results.
Autoimmune condition vs. Autoimmune Disease
The next most important thing to understand about an autoimmune disease is that under the mainstream model, you are not diagnosed with a problem until the autoimmune condition has grown so bad that it interferes with the function of the particular organ. For example you will not be diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroid until enough of the Thyroid gland has been killed that Thyroid function has dramatically suffered not to mention the overall health of the person. So there will always be an autoimmune “condition” going on before a full blown autoimmune disease occurs. The goal in my practice is to screen for and stop the autoimmune condition before it can manifest into a debilitating disease state. This is one area that the mainstream approach simply misses.
Screening for Autoimmune Conditions
There are many different factors that can turn on and/or drive an autoimmune condition which should be screened for. I have listed a few below:
- Family history
- Hormonal imbalance
- Blood sugar imbalance
- Gluten sensitivity
- Poor Vitamin D status
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Leaky Gut Syndrome