Autoimmune disease occurs when an individuals own immune system starts attacking its own body. Sometimes the immune system attacks one particular area, however, commonly seen autoimmune conditions can progress and worsen without treatment. Although the cause of autoimmune disease is relatively unknown, it is believed that a combination of an individuals genes, infections, lifestyle and environmental exposure play a role (1).
Symptoms of autoimmune disease varies from debilitating back pain seen in ankylosis spondylitis to itchy plaque covered skin in psoriasis. However all share the same root cause, the immune system that is meant to be protecting us from illness is attacking our own cells. The National Institute of Health estimates that 23.5 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease, we are seeing similar numbers in Australia as well. Even more shocking is the fact that 75% of them are women. The disparity between men and women is even worse when you look at specific kinds of autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (10:1); Grave’s disease (7:1); lupus (9:1) (2).
Patients suffering autoimmune disease often feel helpless with such widespread or diverse symptoms. Take for example, Celiac Disease with expected gastrointestinal symptoms not seen in many clients. One example of such is one of my client’s only symptom which triggered her fantastic G.P to test for and diagnose low iron levels!
Although not widely recognised many of the symptoms of autoimmune diseases are directly linked to diet and lifestyle and thus changes in diet lifestyle can dramatically improve the health of those with an autoimmune disease. Alongside Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine at Balanced Life Health Care we coach our patients with autoimmune disease on the diet and lifestyle that will best address their autoimmune condition.