When your immune system malfunctions when it mistakes you as the foreign invader – it turns into an adversary. It begins to interpret healthy cells as enemies to be destroyed. This can lead to the damage of many tissues and organs throughout your body, can stimulate abnormal organ growth, and can negatively affect basic organ function.
As many as 50 million people are currently suffering with an autoimmune disease.
Currently, there are more than 80 identified autoimmune diseases that affect various parts of your body inside and out. The signs of autoimmune disease can be systemic (affecting the entire body) which makes them difficult to trace. The true source of body-wide distress can take various doctors, intensive testing, and a long time to identify.
75% of autoimmune disease diagnoses are made in women.
Autoimmune diseases are the leading cause of disability, the leading cause of death, and there is no cure at this time. Since doctors are unable to treat the source of the chronic condition, they work to treat the symptoms and keep them under control.
Common Signs of Autoimmune Disease
- Persistent fatigue no matter how much rest you get
- General weakness
- Itchy, patchy, or dry skin – may be accompanied by rash
- Sensitivity to temperature (hot or cold)
- Pain or bloating in the abdomen
- Dizziness, repeated falls, or poor coordination
- Hair loss
- Seizures, trouble concentrating, memory problems, or mood swings
- Unexplained loss or gain of weight
- Pain in muscles, joints, or head
- Digestive distress that may include constipation, diarrhea, or painful bowel movements
- Repeated issues with miscarriages or blood clots
- Tremors, numbness, tingling, or paralysis in extremities
- Difficulty swallowing, gagging, or dry mouth
Before you make an appointment with your doctor, make sure you have a complete family history and have written down a complete list of symptoms – even if they seem unrelated. It is important to identify the symptom(s) that directly influences your quality of life. That will determine what specialist you need to see.
If your doctor does not take your questions or list of symptoms seriously – find another doctor. If they try to convince you that the way you feel is “all in your head,” get another opinion immediately and keep getting other opinions until someone gets to the bottom of why you feel the way you do.
Most people with a host of differing indicators end up with a primary care physician who coordinates their care among specialists required to treat specific signs of autoimmune disease.
If You’re Diagnosed with Autoimmune Disease
You can control the symptoms of autoimmune disease with a few lifestyle changes and a true focus on your health and wellbeing. Limiting your intake of junk food, sodas, excess alcohol, and tobacco will help to detoxify your body.
- Increase your consumption of organic fruits and vegetables
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat more wild caught fish, grass fed beef (in moderation), and organic poultry
- Get your healthy fats from products such as grass-fed butter, olive oil, and coconut oil
- Avoid refined sugar, salt, and flour
- Do whatever you can to resolve physical, mental, and emotional stress
- Make sure you get plenty of quality sleep every night
- Exercise regularly – even if it is low impact – but listen to your body
During flare-ups of autoimmune symptoms, try to remain calm. Listen to relaxing music, practice deep breathing, and focus on a lessening of the pain or discomfort.
There may not be a cure yet but you can still live a healthy, happy life while managing the symptoms of autoimmune disease. By caring for your body and doing everything possible to protect your health, you will have many wonderful years remaining.
Where to next?
Book your FREE Naturopathic Assessment Consultation to get you started. Consultations start at $57.
We use the ‘Healthpoint‘ health fund rebate system in the clinic our accredited Naturopaths have current health fund provider status. This means if you bring your card to the consultation you can usually claim your rebate on the spot using our Healthpoint terminal, and only pay the gap on your consultation. This helps you see your health fund benefit sooner.
No matter where you are, we can offer naturopath consultation by phone or skype consultations and nutritional supplementation through Australia and Overseas. Alternatively, we would love to see you in person in our Brisbane or Gold Coast Clinic either or Buderim Naturopath or Caloundra Naturopath Clinic on the Sunshine Coast.