An autoimmune disease is defined as "an illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex organization within the body that is designed normally to "seek and destroy" invaders of the body, including infectious agents. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues."
Autoimmune disease is on the rise. It seems like everyone you know might have some form of autoimmunity. The following is a short list of some of the more common autoimmune diseases we see regularly:
-Hashimoto's thyroiditis -celiac disease
-Lupus -chron's disease
-autoimmune hepatitis -ulcerative colitis
-alopecia areata -pernicious anemia
-psoriasis -lyme disease
-scleroderma -rheumatoid arthritis(RA)
-vitiligo -psoriatic arthritis
-addison's disease -myasthenia gravis
-Grave's disease -multiple sclerosis
Early detection is KEY!!
An autoimmune disease can attack any organ system in the body. It is important to know that this attack can be on going for many years before you show symptoms and get a autoimmune disease diagnosis.
It is crucial to your on going health that you detect the autoimmunity during a time of
auto reactivity so that you can prevent the autoimmune disease from becoming full blown.
Why are autoimmune diseases on the rise?
There are 3 main reasons:
1)Food additives: certain foods can appear like human tissues(ie:gluten and caesin) Most people have some issue with digestion/leaky gut and these foods can end up in the circulation. Now the immune system reacts to this and creates antibodies against these foods(hence food allergies/sensitivities develop). The immune system has now tagged these structures as something foreign, and it will attack similar looking tissues/organs!
Now you have an autoimmune disease.
2)Environmental triggers: infections like epstein barr, h pylori etc. These infections(that you may not even be aware you are harboring)trigger what is called "molecular mimicry". Antibodies are made against these infections which can be hiding in organ tissues. The immune system attacks the infection(as it should) but it also can make a mistake and attack the organ tissues(molecular mimicry) since the tissue looks similar to the infection. Therefore an autoimmune disease develops if this is left long term unchecked.
3)Chemicals: This could be the most important cause of autoimmune disease developing.
The chemicals enter the blood and bind to tissue, now the immune system attacks and the tissue the chemical is attached to is targeted, an autoimmune disease process begins.
Chemicals enter the gut by attaching to proteins which then cause inflammation and damage the gut lining. With a damaged gut lining food can enter the blood and you get an immune reaction.
Detection needs to start 10-15 years before a full blown autoimmune disease develops.
This is the process:
there is a trigger(food,chemical,infection)------immune system attack going on for years-----Symptoms(patient sees their Dr)----- diagnosis of autoimmunity is given(sorry, but you are too late)
Interesting fact: Did you know that kids with type 1 diabetes show antibodies against insulin 5+ years before the onset of the disease?! WOW that means there is the potential to stop type 1 diabetes before it becomes a full blown disease.
How can you detect autoimmune reactivity before it is too late?
1)Pay attention to your body.
When something does not feel right follow that feeling. I see patients all the time who present to their MD and their symptoms are vague(or some are not so vague) but the medical world brushes them off. At this point in the game the medical model fails patients. It does not know what to do until you have a full blown disease where they can prescribe you pharmaceutical agents to mask your symptoms.
Keep digging, if you are told everything is normal, it probably is not.
There is a company called Cyrex Laboratories who does, Predictive Antibody Testing.
When antibodies are detected you can then figure out what the trigger is, hopefully, remove the trigger(the food, treat the stealth infection, remove the chemicals) and then hopefully, within 6 months to a year the antibodies are gone and your immune system is no longer attacking your body's tissues.