Treating and healing autoimmune disease is another area in which integrated approach to health works much better than traditional medicine alone. When there’s chronic disease, inflammation often takes place. Traditional physicians are trained to treat inflammation by suppressing it, with aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication.
Unfortunately, traditional medicine doesn’t take the approach of finding and treating the underlying causes of inflammation when there’s chronic disease. Typically, the approach of traditional medicine is to suppress, cover up, block or otherwise interfere with the body’s expression of symptoms, yet the root cause is not addressed.
Allergens, infections, dietary problems, stress, and environmental toxins are often the real causes of inflammatory conditions. Allergies, arthritis, asthma as well as autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, celiac, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and more affect millions of people – at least 5% of the population of Western countries.
An integrated medical approach is concerned with symptoms primarily to trace them back to the root cause. Treating symptoms is not enough, particularly with autoimmune diseases where the body has begun attacking itself. When your health is approached in a holistic manner, treatment involves identifying not only what disease you have, but why you are sick.
How Does Autoimmune Disease Occur?
The purpose of your immune system is to protect you from invading pathogens. It is on guard against foreign materials, germs, parasites and more. When your body I taxies invaders, inflammation occurs. In autoimmune disease, your body gets confused, and attacks your own tissues such as your joints, brain, thyroid, or other areas of your body.
In the United States, the annual healthcare cost for auto immune diseases amongst almost twice the amount spent on treating cancer. Autoimmune disease is the eighth leading cause of death among women, and shortens the average patient’s lifespan by eight years. Many conventional treatments can make you feel worse due to side effects.
How Can Autoimmune Disease Be Treated?
A holistic approach to treating autoimmune disease involves examining the patient’s medical history, home and work environment, diet and lifestyle factors. For example, being exposed to toxins on the job is an important factor to consider.
Comprehensive medical testing to identify hidden infections including yeast, viruses, bacteria etc. as well as allergen testing, particularly food allergens such as celiac disease would be completed. In some cases, genetic testing is appropriate. It’s common to test for heavy metal toxicity, as exposure to mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity.
Gut health would be supported through diet and probiotics. Certain nutrients would be supplemented.
Stress is an important factor, so gentle exercise and deep relaxation such as yoga or meditation can be helpful.
Common Autoimmune Triggers
A few of the most common triggers of autoimmune disease are dietary. In particular, sugar, dairy, and gluten are frequent culprits. There are also environmental triggers which are very common including mold, exposure to heavy metals and toxins such as mercury, and even antibiotics. Taking a course of antibiotics can throw your gut flora seriously and balance and lead to autoimmune disease if not addressed.
Get Real Relief From Autoimmune Disease
If you allow your autoimmune disease to be treated conventionally with prescription drugs, it will typically grow worse, you will not recover, and you have to deal with the side effects of those drugs. Over time, this often leads to additional health issues due to nutrient deficiency or the need for additional prescriptions to manage the side effects of the initial ones.
Please believe that there is more effective treatment for autoimmune disease than suppression of symptoms. Find yourself an integrative medical practice that will work with you to help you regain vibrant good health. If you’re in Hong Kong, please call us at (+852) 2523 8044 today to make an appointment.