Diabetes. Arthritis. Chronic fatigue. These are just a few of the more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases that are on the rise in North America and around the world.
Autoimmunity occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly starts attacking their own body. Some of the most common autoimmune conditions include Type 1 diabetes as well as Type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Grave’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, some forms of osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosis and chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). Celiac disease, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis and other gastrointestinal conditions, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia also have an autoimmune component.
There are a variety of theories as to why autoimmune conditions are becoming increasingly common. One theory suggests it’s due to ‘molecular mimicry.’ What this means is that something in the body is causing the immune system to malfunction. The body attacks something it sees as a threat to itself – but at the same time, it mistakenly attacks itself as well, because it starts to confuse its own proteins and tissues with the things it’s trying to attack.
A rheumatologist is a medical specialist in autoimmunity who focuses on the autoimmune component of what’s going on. At Neurvana Health, we take it a step further by looking for what’s actually causing an autoimmune condition. We test whether an immune system dysfunction is due to infection or toxicity – or even emotional (limbic brain) issues. People who have experienced emotional trauma early in life may be more vulnerable to immune system dysfunction.
All sorts of gut-related issues can also trigger an immune reaction. Gluten can trigger autoimmune reactions in people with celiac disease. Gluten can trigger Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Addison’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease. It can also be a contributor to an autoimmune form of dementia.
Any one of these issues can skew how the immune system functions, and drive an autoimmune reaction. The type of autoimmune reaction that someone develops is usually due to genetic weakness.
When it comes to autoimmune illness, prevention is No. 1.
If you have a family history of autoimmune conditions, or if you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, you may want to consider working with a practitioner who can help find the cause. It’s very important to find the cause of an autoimmune condition, because when you find it, you can reverse it.
The functional medicine practitioners at Neurvana Health can help by running a brain map using a non-invasive technology called quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG), along with blood tests to determine what’s causing an autoimmune condition. We will work with you to stop the immune reaction. And in situations where we can’t help resolve it, we will direct you to someone who can.