There are over 80 health conditions which are classified as autoimmune conditions, but what does this mean, and how can naturopathy help?
Autoimmune conditions are health issues where your immune system attacks your normal cells instead of bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells, which is what they should be protecting you against. Autoimmune conditions are normally called a different name, depending on which organs are being attacked. Such conditions cause a lot of inflammation in your body, which can cause many other symptoms other than just in the organ being affected.
Examples of a few more common autoimmune conditions and the organs or regions which are affected can include type 1 diabetes (pancreas), Coeliac and Crohn’s disease (digestive tract), Multiple Sclerosis (nervous system), Grave’s and Hashimoto’s disease (thyroid), Rheumatoid arthritis (joints), psoriasis (skin), lupus (connective tissue all over the body), and many others.
The typical medical approach to autoimmune conditions is to suppress the immune system with anti-inflammatory medications, immunosuppressives, corticosteroids, chemotherapy and other medications to try and slow down the damage. But this is a bandaid approach in that it covers up the symptoms and lessens them, but doesn’t do anything for the cause or any real treatment. Suppressing the immune system is never a good idea as it can lead to a greater risk of other infections and even cancer.
The cause of autoimmune conditions is from lifestyle and dietary factors. Stress and nutrition always influences every disease, especially autoimmune conditions. There are other factors involved too, with some triggers being allergies and food/chemical intolerances, microbes and parasites, and toxic chemicals. Another major factor influencing autoimmune conditions is how well your digestive system is functioning, or the integrity of the intestinal wall.
Naturopaths are the best practitioners to help with autoimmune conditions as we do look at the bigger holistic (whole body) picture of your food intake, lifestyle, digestive system, food intolerances and all the other factors involved! With a treatment plan which treats all factors, autoimmune conditions can be slowed, prevented and even reversed!