Autoimmune diseases are currently affecting an estimated 23.5 million Americans, most of whom are women, and you may have had no idea. Autoimmune diseases are not popular topics of discussion, but they should be. There are more than one hundred different autoimmune conditions, all being serious chronic diseases caused by underlying problems in the immune system. More people suffer from autoimmune diseases than from cancer or heart diseases; Autoimmune diseases are considered a top 10 leading cause of death in women who are under the age of 65, yet most people have no clue what these conditions are, let alone how to identify them. By knowing the signs, the faster you will be able to find the correct treatment and handle the condition.
Five signs that may indicate an autoimmune disease include:
1. Joint pain, muscle pain or weakness or a tremor
2. Feeling tired or fatigued, weight gain or cold intolerance
3. Hair loss or white patches on your skin or inside your mouth
4. Recurrent rashes or hives, sun-sensitivity, a butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks
5. Abdominal pain, blood or mucus in your stool, diarrhea or mouth ulcers
There are several other signs of an autoimmune disease, but these are some of the main indicators.
What Causes Autoimmune Diseases?
Autoimmune diseases have an underlying genetic component that can be turned on by many other factors. For example, toxins and heavy metals like mercury from molds, infections like Candida, the herpes simplex virus, and inflammation due to food sensitivities, such as gluten; there is a definite link between autoimmune diseases and gluten intolerance.
An autoimmune disorder starts when your body is working hard to protect itself against something that could be dangerous, such as a toxin, an infection, allergen, or food. The main part is that it fails to differentiate between the intruder and parts of your own body, which means the immune system can attack parts of your own body, thinking certain types of tissues are dangerous. Your body then turns these antibodies against itself, causing a very bad effect on your organs.
What to Do if You Think You Have an Autoimmune Disorder
The good thing is that you can stop and reverse the disease. To do so, you first need to identify and treat the underlying cause. Conventional doctors will only treat the symptoms of an autoimmune disease and will not look for the root cause. They will often prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, or immunosuppressants, which all fail to treat the underlying cause of the condition and are not a long-term solution. In fact, taking immunosuppressant drugs for a long period of time can increase your risk for cancer and severe infections. Due to the fact that no two autoimmune diseases are the same, the way conventional doctors treat the symptoms (autoimmune disorders can have similar symptoms) would not treat your specific condition, still leaving you with an untreated condition. Integrative functional medicine, a medical specialty that focuses on reversing these chronic conditions, will find the underlying cause and help reverse the condition and symptoms.
Autoimmune disorders, when gone unnoticed or unidentified, can wreak havoc on organs and your health. However, there is something you can do about it to take control of your health. Knowing and being aware of the symptoms for an autoimmune deficiency, even if the symptoms show up at a later time, can allow you to find the root cause, the proper treatment faster so you can reverse the condition as soon as possible, and get your health back to a normal state.