Autoimmune Disease

autoimmune-disease

The National Institute of Health estimates up to 10% of the population suffer from autoimmune disease and the prevalence is rising. There are more people in America with autoimmune disorders than with cancer, heart disease or stroke related illness. Yet, the research lags behind the epidemic.

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

Basically, your immune system becomes overactive, confusing self with non-self. A perfectly healthy immune system can identify an intruder and ward off disease through self-defense mechanisms. However, if you have an autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Grave’s Disease, your immune system produces antibodies that destroy your own thyroid gland, affecting your thyroid’s ability to regulate hormone production. In general, an autoimmune disease is an attack on your own tissue and can affect many different organs in your body.

What Causes an Autoimmune Disease?

Though there are many theories, doctors and scientists do not fully understand what causes autoimmune diseases.

Common belief is that autoimmune disease is often triggered in individuals with a genetic predisposition. This trigger is hotly debated but some theorize that a lack of nutrition, environmental toxins, overworked adrenal glands and even vaccines may be the culprit. There is also evidence supporting the underlying cause being gut related, leading many to suspect antibiotics, steroids, lifestyle and dietary factors.

What are Your Treatment Options?

Fortunately, if you suffer from Grave’s Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or any other autoimmune disease, there is hope to improve your quality of life and prognosis.

There are several treatment options for those with an autoimmune disease.  With Grave’s disease, anti thyroid drugs like Tapizole can be used to reduce the production of thyroid hormone.  However, with thyroid autoimmune disease the removal or destruction of the thyroid gland or hormone replacement are the most common courses of treatment. These two treatment options can reduce symptoms but can also cause long-term negative side effects.  Importantly, they fail to address the underlying cause of the illness.

The good news is that you have options. There are dietary and lifestyle changes that you can implement rather than turning to prescription drugs and surgery. People are finding renewed health and reversal of symptoms through natural treatment methods. Some of these include:

  • Stress reduction techniques
  • Improved sleep habits
  • Dietary changes
  • Reducing toxins from your environment
  • Immune modulating supplements
  • Adaptogenic herbal remedies

Consult with a practitioner experienced in treating autoimmune disease.  They can help you identify your specific imbalance and address the root cause of your imbalance.

Dr. Jeda Boughton is a doctor of Chinese medicine in Vancouver BC, Canada, and the founder of the Natural Thyroid Health Program. She teaches women who suffer from thyroid disorders how to heal naturally through alternative medicine.

Jeda Boughton – who has written posts on Natural Thyroid Health.