Autoimmune Disease Is Quietly Killing Us
Doctors have said for decades that heart disease is the number one cause of death, followed by cancer and autoimmune diseases. Yet a paradigm shift is taking place. Science now shows that atherosclerosis and cancer have autoimmune components in their early stages. Atherosclerosis, which was previously considered a fat-storage disease of the blood vessel wall, is now recognized as a chronic inflammatory disease. And what is the only system of the body that addresses inflammation? Your immune system! With this insight, we now believe autoimmune conditions are the primary mechanism behind getting sick and dying. Therefore, autoimmune disease is now the number one cause of disease and death in our country!
As millions of people desperately seek out solutions to an epidemic of mysterious and debilitating health issues, the focus needs to turn to the immune system, which is the root cause of many of these diseases. Your body’s immune system is a complex network of cells that defend you from germs, toxins and other foreign invaders. Think of it like your personal body-guard that works 24/7 to try to protect you. However, our country has a major problem. Autoimmune diseases have increased three-fold in the last 50 years! And it is not because we have gotten better at diagnosing them.
How Did This Autoimmune Epidemic Happen?
The reality is that we are being constantly bombarded by chemicals and toxins daily and most of us don’t even know it. There is no way to be optimally healthy today without proactively neutralizing the reality that is surrounding us starting from the food you eat and the water you drink, to the products you put on your skin, the exhaust from cars, the air fresheners and cleaning products we use, just to name a few. The average American comes in contact with over 80,000 chemicals every single day! In the United States, the majority of these chemicals are not being tested for their safety and how they can affect you and your family’s health. Now add on the tremendous amount of stress from your fast-paced life, lack of quality sleep and your on-the-go, plastic wrapped, processed lunch.
The combination of all these toxins amplifies their negative effects and destroys our health. As much as you want to be a superhero for your family, children and boss, let’s be honest with ourselves. We know our bodies were not built to handle these daily, unrelenting attacks. And it’s not just us; it’s our unborn children too. Researchers have identified 287 known toxins in umbilical cord blood. That’s before your precious baby has even taken its first breath!!
When you see what’s been done to our world and realize the effects these toxins have had on your body, you may feel angry and victimized like many of us.
An autoimmune reaction in simple terms means that the immune system is attacking something found naturally in the body. Now I don’t want you to think your immune system is to blame here. Your immune system is your body’s defense mechanism against overwhelming stressors and threats. It does not turn from friend to foe intentionally. Instead autoimmune conditions are an extremely appropriate response to our extraordinary circumstances. These constant burdens slowly begin to alter the integrity of our cells to the point that our immune system begins to look at them as foreign invaders.
Having Autoimmunity Is Not A Simple Yes Or No
Autoimmunity is more of a spectrum with vibrant health at one end and degenerative disease at the other. In between lies a broad range of varied but related stages that build on each other — eventually moving in the direction of worsening disease. There are over 80 autoimmune diseases, yet countless more autoimmune conditions.
It may be easier to understand autoimmune diseases if you think of when you were young, playing on the seesaw at the park with a friend. Wasn’t it more fun being the one shooting up into the air, then reaching the highest point and experiencing that feeling that you could fly? Think of that exhilarating moment, press pause and label that side “vibrant health” and the end sitting on the ground “degenerative disease.” Now, as you go on living life, add a tiny pebble to the “vibrant health” side each time you are exposed to chemicals and environmental toxins. Do the same for every meal eaten out of a box or a drive-thru window and again with every medication (prescribed or over the counter) you put in your mouth. Doing any of these things one time is not detrimental, but as you continue adding pebbles day in and day out without taking the proper steps to offset the imbalance the seesaw will slowly begin to get weighed down until you are halfway to the ground. This is the point that symptoms will likely creep up and begin to catch your attention. Maybe you say “I’m getting old and this is part of it” or maybe you decide to see your conventional medicine doctor and have them run some tests. But remember, your seesaw is in limbo. You do not have a disease YET. There is dysfunction, not organ destruction, so traditional lab markers will show everything is normal, even though you don’t feel normal. Did you know the average autoimmune disease can take up to 10 years to show up on a test? In the meantime, the onslaught of inflammation and symptoms persist, adding more and more pebbles until you finally feel a big thud! Your end of the seesaw has hit the ground. Now you are told that you will have to deal with this problem the rest of your life, because there is no cure.
The sad truth is that if you have autoimmune disease, you are told there is nothing wrong for an average of five to ten years before being properly diagnosed. On average, people with an autoimmune disease see six to eight different doctors before attaining a correct diagnosis. Surveys conducted by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association reveal that 45% of patients with autoimmune diseases have been labeled hypochondriacs in the earliest stages of their illnesses. Patients are often left feeling hopeless, confused and frustrated.
Did you know these medical conditions are actually autoimmune diseases?
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Type I Diabetes
- IBD (Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Alopecia areata
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Celiac disease
- Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid)
- Hashimoto’s disease (underactive thyroid)
Common Symptoms Of People Suffering From Autoimmune Diseases
Elevated antibodies are a signal that the immune system is sending its final response to a perceived threat before a disease develops. Antibodies attacking your own tissue cause inflammation and tissue damage. People don’t always feel the accumulating damage until their immune system kills enough tissue that symptoms emerge. The silver lining of having symptoms is that it will force you to take notice and gives you the opportunity to address them. For example, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often presents with joint pain along with other complaints. The joints are the weak link in the body, so they fall under attack and are therefore blamed for the pain. In reality, it’s an immune system problem. The joints should be addressed, but not blamed. Chronic inflammation is a classic and sometimes silent consequence of autoimmune diseases. However, symptoms can vary drastically and affect many different parts of the body. Your recurring symptoms like fatigue, bloating, lack of energy and memory lapses, or your seemingly unrelated symptoms that come out of nowhere might be messengers from your immune system giving you important clues that something is out of balance. With over 80 autoimmune diseases and hundreds of symptoms, this is a very simplified list of some of the most common complaints:
- Weight gain
- Muscle aches or weakness
- Low grade fevers
- Weakness, trouble with coordination, balance, speaking and walking
- Cold hands and/or feet
- Blurred vision
- Itchy skin
- Painful, stiff, swollen & deformed joints
- Hair Loss
- Trouble swallowing
- Brain fog
Autoimmune Disease Is A Silent Assassin
Health deterioration can be measured in terms of its intensity by the level of antibodies. When there is a slight elevation of antibodies some people may have noticeable symptoms, while others with tremendously high levels of antibodies may have no symptoms at all. Yet both of these scenarios are on the spectrum of autoimmune disease. Without intervention the person will continue progressing until they are diagnosed with a chronic or deadly disease. This is why it does not matter whether you notice symptoms or not: If you have elevated antibodies, they are fueling tissue degeneration.
Oddly, chronic health problems are frequently accepted as a normal part of life and the aging process: fatigue, pain, depression, obesity, insomnia, anxiety, headaches and the list can go on. These symptoms may be common, but they are not normal. The difference is huge: Common means a lot of people have it; normal means “that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” The common symptoms (being sick, fat, tired and forgetful) should not be accepted as normal, and knowing this should be empowering enough for all of us to say, “Is what I’m experiencing common or normal?” The truth is no one should have to live with these symptoms.
What Treatments Are Available For Autoimmune Diseases?
It’s sad to say, but the very concept of a “toxic burden” is a foreign concept to most health care professionals. Therefore, they wouldn’t even know where to start. When it comes to fighting autoimmune conditions, conventional medicine really has only one weapon in its arsenal: drugs. And the side effects are harsh, frequent, extremely disruptive all while ignoring the root cause allowing the disease to continue progressing until it becomes deadly.
Unfortunately, once a person has one autoimmune disease, their chance of developing another autoimmune disease increases by 300%. That statistic is true, UNLESS the inflammatory cascade is halted and the immune system is given the proper attention it deserves. Yes, there is a genetic component in any autoimmune disorder. Even though genetics cannot be modified, the activation of your genes CAN. Through diet, intestinal healing and reducing your toxic burden you can instruct your problematic genes to turn off again, thus restoring your distressed immune system back to health. Instead of using harmful drugs to suppress the immune system, LivingYoung Center gets to the root cause by addressing the underlying factors and enabling the body to restore integrity to itself and its cells. Life is so much more fun when you are at the top of the seesaw enjoying your health and vitality!
What can I do?
The first step is to get tested. At LivingYoung we have available to our patients the most comprehensive test to detect antibodies of autoimmune diseases. The Multiple Autoimmune Reactivity test is an effective way to assess possible tissue damage to multiple organs of the body and will help you assess predictive antibodies. Elevated numbers of antibodies, known as Predictive Antibodies, are measurable up to ten years before the clinical onset of the disease. Identification of pathogenesis at this stage allows for the possible arrest or even reversal of disease progression. Learn more about this test.