Autoimmune disease is an umbrella term for ‘body attacking self’. Examples of autoimmune disease include fibromyalgia, lupus, hashimotos disease, inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and crohns disease, and MS.
The immune systems’ main job is to maintain and repair the body. This is done in times of trauma, overuse as in exercise, infection, etc. When it attacks healthy tissue, or when the attack continues once repair is complete, this is an abnormal immune response. It is when the immune system looses the ability to distinguish self from non-self, that autoimmune disease sets in.
It is estimated that 24 million people in the US have an autoimmune disease, but only 18 million have been diagnosed. That is about 1:250 people. It has increased 3-fold in the last 30 years. It takes on average 6-10 doctors to be diagnosed because symptoms can vary dramatically making diagnosis hard to pinpoint.
Why is autoimmune disease on the rise? Well, our genetics have NOT changed. In fact, our genes are 99.5% THE SAME as they were 10,000 years ago! Autoimmune disease is a modern epidemic. If we compare the modern world to that of the paleolithic hunter and gatherer era where our genes were the same but autoimmune disease was nonexistant, much has changed. MOST of this change has occurred only recently. We are exposed to new toxins, foods, chemicals, stress and expectations that were never a part of life in the past. Our genetics have not had a chance to catch up with our ever changing world, diets and lifestyles. The chronic exposure to these changes are triggers autoimmunity in our bodies.
The exciting news is that auto-antibodies can show up on labs 5 or more years before disease actually sets in, which is called a prodromal period. They are a sign, or warning light that comes on to signal us that the body is attacking self and that the autoimmune process is going on even if there are not yet symptoms. It is important to test for these markers to understand risk factors prevent disease from setting in. This gives us the ability to make change NOW before disease takes root and becomes irreversible.
Triggers for autoimmunity include:
Toxins like chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals
Lack of exercise
Simple changes you can take NOW to stop the immune system attack:
Eliminate gluten from your diet
Eliminate non fermented dairy from your diet
Eliminate all processed and refined foods from your diet
Reduce stress and practice stress management
Get regular exercise
Get adequate sleep
Treat gut infections
Reverse leaky gut
At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare we will help you to stay on top of regular health screenings that includes testing for auto-antibodies that would signal future autoimmune disease. If we do find autoimmune markers, we will help you take the necessary steps to identify triggers and repair them. Call us to set up an appointment today! 970-631-8286