Autoimmune Disorders: When Your Body Battles Itself

Woman finding relief from autoimmune disorder

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Autoimmune Disorders: When Your Body Battles Itself

You’re not alone if you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder; nearly 23.5 million Americans are affected by one of more than 100 types of autoimmune diseases, making these conditions some of the leading causes of health problems.


Some autoimmune diseases are common, such as Celiac disease, while others, like Guillain-Barre syndrome, are rare. Still more, such as Type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, aren’t always recognized as autoimmune diseases by those suffering from them.


Your Immune System is Your Body’s Defense

Your immune system is a network of tissues, cells, and organs that create substances to help your body fight illness and infections. Some components of your immune system include:

  • Spleen
  • Bone marrow
  • The lymphatic system (lymph nodes and lymph vessels)
  • White blood cells
  • Thymus
  • Antibodies


Other ways your body defends itself against unwelcome and harmful microbial invaders are through your lungs, skin, urinary tract, tears, saliva, and digestive tract.


A Normal Immune System’s Defense

A healthy immune system’s network works together to fight invading germs. This immune response has several steps:

  • Your immune system recognizes there is an invader 
  • Your immune system works together to release antibodies to battle the invader
  • Your immune system weakens and destroys the germ
  • Your immune system files the germ in its “memory bank” so it can be rapidly identified and defeated if you’re exposed to it again


If exposed to a virus, your immune system’s response may be a fever, a cough, and a runny nose. When you suffer from a gastrointestinal condition, your immune system will attempt to rid your body of it through diarrhea and vomiting.


Autoimmune Disorders: Why Does the Body Attack Itself?

A healthy immune system identifies foreign invaders. However, those suffering from an autoimmune disease have immune systems that attack normal, healthy cells. In other words, your body is in battle with itself.


Autoimmune disorders are chronic, frequently debilitating conditions that affect your overall health and quality of life. These diseases can weaken any body part and interfere with its ability to function correctly. 


These conditions can cause severe damage to your body and increasing health complications if undiagnosed and left untreated. These diseases destroy healthy tissues, cause abnormalities in organ functionality, create cardiac problems, narrow your blood vessels, and even lead to encephalitis. While these complications aren’t typical, they emphasize the need for medical evaluation as soon as possible.


Common Autoimmune Diseases

While the exact reasons for developing autoimmune diseases aren’t entirely understood, it’s thought that heredity and environmental factors play a part. In addition, leaky gut, chronic infections, food sensitivities, diet, stress, and nutrient deficiencies also all have a role in these conditions.


Some of the most common autoimmune disorders are:


To make the condition even more complicated, it’s not unusual to suffer from more than one type of autoimmune disease.


Symptoms of Autoimmune Disorders

Like many chronic conditions, the symptoms of an autoimmune disease can seem vague and unrelated. 

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Unexplained weight fluctuations
  • Dizziness
  • Brain fog
  • Inflammation
  • Joint and muscle pain or stiffness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Digestive disorders
  • Bloating
  • Thinning hair
  • Rashes
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches


The symptoms can be generalized or specific to one part of your body, depending on the autoimmune condition. If your symptoms are recurring or worsening, it’s called a flare-up. A flare-up indicates that the disease has been triggered and is actively attacking your body.


Functional Medicine Autoimmune Disorder Treatments 

Traditionally, physicians treat the symptoms of an autoimmune disorder to alleviate discomfort and minimize flare-ups. However, functional medicine doctors seek to uncover the reasons behind the disease while also identifying and eliminating the triggers that cause the flare-ups.


Determining The Autoimmune Disease

During your first visit, your functional medicine doctor will evaluate your lifestyle and medical history through a thorough, detailed assessment. A physical exam follows this evaluation, and diagnostic testing such as blood work as needed.


Autoimmune Disorder Treatment Plans

Once the autoimmune disease is identified, a customized treatment plan is created. This plan supports the immune system so it can function normally. The end goal is lowering inflammation, eliminating triggers, and slowing disease progression.


A functional medicine treatment plan for autoimmune conditions includes any combination of the following:

  • Natural immune supplements
  • Dietary adjustments
  • Lowering stress levels
  • Improving gut health
  • Addressing nutrient deficiencies
  • Uncovering and eliminating environmental triggers
  • Supporting restful sleep habits
  • Naturally reducing inflammation
  • Reducing reliance on traditional, potentially harmful medications


Let True Life Medicine Restore Your Healthy Immune System

True Life Medicine provides functional medicine treatment in Colorado Springs. We specialize in chronic conditions, including autoimmune disorders, and can help you restore balance to your immune system for a renewed, energized, healthier you.  Schedule your free discovery call now. Contact us at 719-686-7776 or visit us online.

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