Autoimmune disorders are one of my specialties. My mother has suffered from Lupus since she was a child and my son was diagnosed with Lupus in his early 20’s. I also suffer from an autoimmune disease of the Thyroid – Graves Disease.
Living with an autoimmune disorder can feel like navigating uncharted territory, with symptoms that vary widely and an underlying complexity that can be challenging to comprehend. In this article, we will demystify autoimmune disorders, shedding light on their intricacies and exploring how a naturopath and nutritionist can offer natural solutions for better management and overall well-being.
For more of an in-depth take a look at our blog “Demystifying Autoimmune Disorders”
What is an autoimmune disease?
An autoimmune disorder or disease is when your body’s natural immune system is not working the way it should. Either by not being able to fight infections or produce antibodies. This may cause your immune system to attack your body’s own tissues and organs. As a result, you may suffer from muscle and joint pain, gut health and digestive issues, fatigue, skin rashes and inflammation.
What causes autoimmune diseases?
There are many theories. Unfortunately, no one really understands what the causes totally are.
Research has shown that at times autoimmune disorders or diseases could be triggered by stress, infections or chemical reactions. Other people can have a genetic predisposition.
10 most common autoimmune diseases are
There are over 80 different types of autoimmune disorders these are the 10 most common
- Inflammatory bowel disease,
- Coeliac diseases,
- Chrons disease,
- Systemic lupus erythematosus Lupus
- Rheumatoid arthritis,
- Multiple sclerosis
- Thyroid disorders – Graves Disease, Hashimoto’s Disease
How do I know if I have an Autoimmune Disease?
There is not one single test that can diagnose many of these disorders the use of an antinuclear antibody (ANA) will be used when symptoms suggest an autoimmune disease. A positive test means you may have one of these diseases, but it won’t confirm exactly which one you have or if you have one for sure.
The combination of ANA and other blood tests along with physical examination is the only way to confirm which disorder you may have.
How can a naturopath help you with autoimmune disease?
Leah works with your doctor to make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and blood tests. As a naturopath, Leah’s approach to autoimmune disorders is to provide relief from your symptoms using naturopathic medicine. She also examines the underlying causes of your particular naturopathic medicine. Thus, reducing the damage and inflammation in your body. As a nutritionist, Leah then looks at your diet to assess any digestive imbalance, food allergies and the intestinal microbiome.
Throughout this process, Leah will communicate with your other specialist, thus supplying you with a treatment plan with the best holistic care possible.
Symptoms of Autoimmune diseases
Top 5 ways to reduce symptoms
Most people with autoimmune disease notice that certain foods cause symptoms to be worse.
Gluten and lactose are the most common intolerances.
However, I also have found some people may need to go on an Autoimmune Protocol Diet, and removing all grains or nightshades from the diet can help reduce pain.
If you suffer from Coeliac disease you must not have any gluten at all. It is essential to examine every label for gluten and find alternatives.
As a naturopath Leah does not recommend removing a food group without good reason. She can work through an elimination diet and then repair your digestive tract so that you can if possible reintroduce foods.
We can organise blood test that will identify any food allergies or intolerances.
Make an appointment with Leah now to see how you can identify if you have a food intolerance.
Most smokers are well aware of the high risks of cancers and lung disease. Smoking increases inflammation levels and can have a severe impact on the immune system. The risk of autoimmune disorders are higher in persons who smoke. Studies show that Rheumatoid Arthritis suffers are 4 times more likely to be smokers. As well as causing more symptoms, smoking also reduces effectiveness of medications and herbal medicine.
We can offer herbal support to reduce cravings and the Australian Department of Health has information on how to stop smoking.
The worse enemy to anyone with autoimmune is sugar. Sugar is extremely inflammatory and its in a lot of packaged food. Overeating sugar and carbohydrates are often recognised as causes of conditions such as diabetes, however sugar also affect all persons suffering from autoimmune disorders. Removing processed sugar from your diet is one food group that all of us should reduce or remove, even if we don’t have an autoimmune condition.
Alcohol always seems to get a bad wrap. As a lover of red wine and an autoimmune disorder suffer Leah does try find pros to drinking occasionally. Drinking alcohol is known to cause inflammation and excessive drinking can cause damage to your body and cancers. However, there are a number of studies that indicate that low to moderate drinking of a good quality red wine or spirit can actually have a positive affect on some autoimmune disease.
What is low to moderate drinking? 1 standard drink a day for a women and 2 standard drinks for a male.
Things that a naturopath would discuss with you if you have autoimmune disease would include. What medications you are on and their interactions with alcohol? Sugar content in alcoholic drinks ? How many drinks a day your are having? What you are drinking? Are you having any nights off? Do you binge drink?
Most people know that we need to drink a couple of litres of water a day. This is especially important for someone suffering with an autoimmune disorder. Drinking water assists the body to take oxygen throughout your body. Water contritbutes to flushing toxins and can assists with reducing headaches, muscle pain and stomach bloating. However, it is especially important for people with autoimmune disease to not over hydrate. Drinking more than 8 glasses of water a day, can cause an imbalance of electrolytes.