Learning About Auto-Immune Disease
Rheumatoid arthritis. Lupus. Crohn’s Disease. Ulcerative colitis. Multiple sclerosis. Type 1 diabetes. Guillain-Barre syndrome. Psoriasis. Graves’ disease. Vacultiis. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Myasthenia gravis. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.
This is just a small sample of the over 80 known auto-immune diseases. These diseases really have no known cause or cure. Researchers and scientist know that people who are suffering from one or more of these diseases have an over-active immune system.
This over-active immune system attacks various systems in the body. For example, with rheumatoid arthritis, this over-active immune system creates antibodies that attack your joints, causing painful and debilitating inflammation. With Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, the over-active immune system produces too many white blood cells that attack your intestines causing painful rectal bleeding, vomiting, diarrhea, and more. Type 1 diabetes mellitus is caused when over-active immune system antibodies destroy the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas.
People who suffer from one or more of these auto-immune diseases live a life ruled by pain, side effects, and disease symptoms. The trick and confusing aspect of these auto-immune diseases is that yes, many of them can be controlled with medication but they cannot be “cured.” Once diagnosed, a person must live with this auto-immune disease and its side effects for life.
What Can You Do to Prevent an Auto-Immune Disease?
This is a very logical and sensible question. But it is one that doesn’t have a clear and obvious answer.
To ensure your best health possible and to limit your chances of getting an auto-immune disease (though we know this is not guaranteed), you can do the following to protect yourself:
- Reduce your stress: many of these auto-immune diseases go through phases of remission and flares. When in a remission, there may be zero to limited signs of the disease, conversely during a flare, the disease is active and can impact the day-to-day lifestyle of the person living with the disease. Some research has shown that flares can be triggered by stress. So, if you or someone you know has an auto-immune disease or is a highly stressed person, it’s in your best interest to learn ways to manage your stress. Common suggestions include taking deep breaths when you feel stress or anxiety coming on, participating in yoga or meditation to calm your mind and body, getting fresh air and exercise, and by remembering that there are many things in life that are beyond our control.
- Support your immune system: typically, auto-immune diseases are caused by an over-active immune system. One of the best things you can do is support your immune system with a proven and balanced natural supplement. A supplement such as AHCC can support your natural immune defensegiving your innate immunity and adaptive immunity the tools they need to keep you healthy and well. Your innate immunity launches an immediate, non-specific attack against a threat and while your adaptive immunity produces specific responses to particular microbes, but take longer to kick in.
- Eat a balanced diet: we’ve written about this before and we cannot stress how important it is to eat a balanced diet. We don’t want you to completely give up your french fries or Saturday night pizza night but we do want you to be more conscious of what you’re eating. Try to start the day with fresh fruit, incorporate whole grains into your diet, and eat some vegetables. Don’t forget to drink water! There are lots of excellent recipes online and healthy cooking websites that you can refer to find some easy and tasty ways to get the nutrition you need to support your immune system. Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease such as Crohn’s Disease or Type 1 diabetes, the food you eat will be impacted. Always follow the recommendations of your health care provider.
What if You or Someone in Your Family has an Auto-Immune Disease?
The best thing you can do is follow the recommendations of your health care provider. While you may not want to take medication or like the side effects of this medication, remember that there is science and research backing the medication. Of course, unpleasant side effects of medication should not be tolerated. Keep your communication with your health care provider open and keep him/her up-to-date with how your medication is impacting you.
Talk to your health care provider about natural supplements and how they can help support your immune system. There are many studies that show how natural supplements can be effective in alleviating auto-immune symptoms (remember these are not a cure).
Remember you’re not alone. You’ve got your family, friends, and very likely a support group or network in your community. Auto-immune diseases are more common than we realize - do not suffer in silence. Speak up. Reach out. Get the help and support you need. You can life a full life with an auto-immune disease. Remember to reduce your stress, to eat well, to get fresh air, and to take natural supplements to support a strong and healthy immune system.