The Autoimmune Spectrum
Autoimmune Alphabet Soup
There is an extensive, veritable Alphabet Soup in the world of Autoimmunity:
- Addison’s Disease
- Behcet’s Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Erythema Nodosum
- Grave’s Disease
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
In fact, there are more than 100 different recognized diagnoses on the autoimmune spectrum and the incidence and prevalence are on the rise.
In the U.S., the rate of autoimmune diagnoses is expanding every year and females outnumber males 3:1. No one knows with certainty why autoimmunity is increasing and affects women more than men but there are a number of hypotheses: female hormones and their frequent fluctuations, pregnancy and exposure to fetal cells, genetics, pathogens, GI inflammation, stress, or various environmental factors. Like most illnesses, it is probably a perfect storm of factors that need to swirl together at just the right time and setting.
The best way to define autoimmunity is as “inflammation against self” – immune cells mounting attacks on the body’s own cells. This can be body-wide as in Lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, or Rheumatoid Arthritis or local and tissue-specific like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Celiac Disease, Vitiligo, or Multiple Sclerosis.
This misplaced fire inside of “inflammation against self” can often be tamed or even extinguished with the same tools used for inflammation anywhere in the body: dietary adjustments, stress management, optimization of nutrients like Vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids, or really working on the gut and its inhabitants.
Another tool that sometimes seems too-good-to-be-true is Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) which you can read more about on this page. Anyone with an autoimmune diagnosis or symptoms presenting as such deserves a 6-12 month trial of LDN.
Are you suffering from “inflammation against self”? If so, let’s examine this fire from the inside-out and outside-in and come up with a plan.
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