If you or someone you love have an autoimmune condition you’re well aware of the struggle and frustration that comes with an autoimmune diagnosis.
Everyday can be a challenge.
You don’t feel good. Your body hurts. You’re tired. And, you’re not living the life you want to live.
You likely feel frustrated because you may look healthy on the outside but your struggles are very real on the inside.
As a result, you may feel very alone in your struggle.
You’ve probably been told by doctors that there’s nothing else they can do for you but prescribe medications to try to manipulate the immune system and modulate your symptoms.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
You have many options when it comes to your health and your autoimmune condition.
You aren’t alone. And, you can find answers, find support, and feel better.
Here are 4 important things everyone should know about autoimmune conditions.
Autoimmune Conditions are Common.
You may feel very alone in your struggle—especially if you have one of the lesser known autoimmune conditions.
However, there’s a high probability that others in your life have autoimmune conditions (even if you don’t know who they are yet).
It’s believed that over 20% of the population has an autoimmune condition. However, this number may be even higher as many people still remain undiagnosed.
Collectively, autoimmune disorders are among the most common chronic health issues with a list of over 100 conditions.
Some of the most common autoimmune conditions are: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Ask around. There are likely people in your life that are experiencing some of the same struggles you are. Get together to support one another. Share ideas and encourage each other.
Autoimmune Conditions Can Be Difficult to Diagnose.
You may have already been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. Or, maybe you have symptoms and a family history of autoimmune disorders but are not yet diagnosed.
Or, you may feel like even though you have a diagnosis it doesn’t feel complete—it feels like there’s more to it doctors haven’t figured out.
Getting a complete autoimmune diagnosis can be difficult.
A recent survey by the AARDA found that it takes most autoimmune patients up to 4.6 years and nearly 5 doctors before receiving a proper autoimmune diagnosis.
That statistic is surprising but understandable.
Symptoms of autoimmune conditions can be hard to tease out at first because they can be vague. Symptoms like fatigue, fever, rashes, joint pain, muscle aches and lethargy can point to any number of conditions.
Sadly, in the early years before a diagnosis is made, people are often told “it’s all in their head” or “there’s nothing wrong with them”. You may have been offered psychiatric medication or been told it’s just depression or anxiety.
If you’re suspicious that you have an autoimmune condition or you feel like your doctors haven’t pinpointed the exact NYGoodHealth diagnosis, don’t give up!
Find a naturopathic or functional medicine physician that can help you diagnose and treat the cause of your symptoms so you can feel better.
Autoimmune Conditions are Caused by the Immune System.
Although the symptoms often show up in every organ system in the body (like the endocrine, nervous, or digestive system) autoimmune conditions are all caused by an immune system that’s gone rogue.
Simply put, autoimmunity means that your own immune system starts destroying your own body tissue.
The symptoms that result depend on what part of the body the immune system has targeted. For example, in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system has targeted the thyroid gland. On the other hand, with Crohn’s disease the target is the intestines.
Why is this important?
Because when treating your autoimmune condition it’s important to not only focus on target of the immune system (like the thyroid or intestines) but also pay attention to the immune system and what triggered it to destroy healthy tissue in the first place.
Getting to the root of WHY the immune system has gone haywire is the key to feeling better. Some of the common causes include: infections (like viruses or bacteria), toxins, stress (both physician and emotional), and inflammatory foods (such as gluten).
Autoimmune Conditions Can Be Treated (Not Just Managed).
You may have been told that there’s nothing that can be done to treat your autoimmune condition but manage the symptoms in the hope that you can slow the progression of the disease.
However, not only are there many treatment options but it’s possible to reduce your symptoms and even reverse the progression of your autoimmunity.
One of the most important aspects of treating autoimmune conditions is treating the triggers or causes of the disorder.
When you’re able to identify and treat the reasons you have an autoimmune condition in the first place, you’ll start to see shifts in your health and symptoms.
Your body, and your immune system, is strongly influenced by your lifestyle. What you eat, how you manage stress, how much toxicity you’re exposed to, and your moods & emotional health greatly impact how you feel every day.
Once you find what works for you, you’ll finally find the relief you’re looking for.
Some Final Thoughts.
If you, or someone you love, struggle with an autoimmune disorder, there’s hope.
You don’t have to go about this alone and you many options when it comes to treating your condition.
Find healthcare providers that are committed to finding a complete and accurate diagnosis. And, who are trained to address the triggers and causes of your symptoms.
You can find support and answers. And, most importantly, you can feel better.
I’d love to hear from you!
Do you or someone you love have an autoimmune disorder. What is the one thing that you hope everyone would know?
Please leave a comment below.