It is finally happening. The doctor has already given the disease a name. The years of not feeling quite right, fatigue, muscle aches, and thinking difficulties finally have an explanation, and it all makes sense. It’s about autoimmune diseases .
Maybe it’s multiple sclerosis or celiac disease , or lupus or rheumatoid arthritis , or something else. Whatever it is, it already has a name. You’ve longed for answers for so long that part of you feels like everything is going to be okay now. A diagnosis means a treatment plan, right?
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise
You are not alone or alone in your diagnosis, or your thoughts on it. About 24 million Americans are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. Another 50 million people have not felt well for years, with symptoms of pain and fatigue and autoantibodies, but they still do not have enough damage to their bodies to make a real diagnosis.
That means that a total of 75 million Americans have immune cells that are causing damage to their bodies. That’s far more than those affected by cancer (roughly 25 million) or heart disease (also about 25 million). Scientists aren’t sure why, but autoimmune disease diagnosis rates have risen dramatically in the past two decades .
Currently, more than 140 diseases have been officially classified as autoimmune diseases , and the number is constantly increasing year after year, as we learn more about autoimmunity and its devastating effects on the body.
Your doctor may be able to give you a name for your illness. We have categorized many, but not all autoimmune conditions. (Some we still call “unspecified diseases”). Your doctor may also tell you that an autoimmune problem means that your immune cells are damaging your healthy cells and organs in a misguided attempt to rid the body of something that it sees as different from itself.
Harms of autoimmune diseases
Scientists don’t know the precise reason why this happens, but they do know the result: progressive damage to vital organs (such as the kidneys , heart, brain , and more) and body tissues (such as joints and muscles). skin).
In addition, your doctor will give you a treatment plan: drugs that block immune cells, or a specific step in the immune pathways, in order to slow the damage inflicted by immune cells in the body. These early drugs used to suppress immune cells were a mild poison to rapidly dividing immune cells, so they were not as vigorous in their “self” attack.
Drugs and autoimmune disease
We are developing more powerful and effective drugs now that block specific steps in immune cell pathways. These new autoimmune drugs are part of a trillion dollar industry, and they are not cheap. With prices ranging from $ 1,000 to $ 45,000 a month (or more), many people have a hard time paying, or just can’t afford it. These medications also come with side effects, ranging from mildly annoying fatigue , mouth sores , heart palpitations, to life-threatening infections, and much more.
What influence the disease?
But there is much more to know about autoimmune disease, much more. And now we get into what doctors won’t tell you about autoimmune diseases . What doctors do not often inform their patients (unless they are functional medicine physicians) is that hundreds, perhaps thousands of studies have shown that all autoimmune diseases are a complex interaction of a person’s genes and the environment. . Each individual gene known to increase the risk of an autoimmune disease increases the risk by 1 and 2%. The rest of the risk comes from the interaction between those genes and the environment.
This is significant. This means that autoimmunity has a genetic component, as we have long suspected, but it is very small. It also means that it has an important lifestyle component.
Here’s the good news for you, so it’s a shame more doctors aren’t spreading it. Seventy-95% of the risk of autoimmune diseases is due to what you do (as well as diabetes , heart disease and cancer ): What you eat, how much you move, how you live your life, how much support you you have, already what we are exposed to every day, from agricultural chemicals and industrial toxins in pollution.
The powerful drugs that doctors prescribe so easily do not address environmental factors. Nor will they compensate for a diet that does not provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fats that cells need to keep your body healthy . Nor do these medications do anything about solvents, pesticides, mercury, lead, arsenic, or any of the other toxins stored in fats and oils that dramatically increase the reactivity of immune cells, making any illness more difficult. to control.
Natural treatment for autoimmune diseases
The health and vitality you long for takes a long time for an optimal cell environment. That means you must:
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet that avoids foods that you react negatively to.
- Reduce your exposure to toxins.
- Activate and use your muscles.
- Control stress hormones.
- Maintain or build connections with support people.
I have found that taking these relatively small, inexpensive measures are the most effective way to reduce the symptoms of almost all chronic diseases that plague modern society.
It is time for us to stop blaming our genes for our poor health, using drugs as a crutch so we don’t have to change our lifestyle.