Your immune system is the bodily system that protects your body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues. As you grow, your immune system develops and has a unique way of remembering bodily invaders such as a cold or the flu so it can fight them if they return. When your immune system is functioning properly, foreign invaders cause it to activate immune cells to fight the invaders. Proteins called antibodies are produced and attach themselves to the invaders in an attempt to identify, kill, and destroy the invaders.
When your immune system mistakes your body’s healthy cells as foreign invaders and repeatedly attacks them, this is known as an autoimmune disease. By definition, “autoimmune” means immunity against the self. Therefore, you can think of it as your body attacking itself.
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Some of the most common are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Autoimmune diseases do not discriminate. These affect different parts of your body, including your heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, digestive tract, and blood vessels.
There are several autoimmune diseases that do not limit themselves to only one part of your body. For example, type 1 diabetes can affect your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves, muscles, and more. Lupus can affect your skin, joints, kidneys, heart, nerves, blood vessels, and more. The parts of the body affected by an autoimmune disease are determined by the parts of the body targeted. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints and often causes joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Moreover, Graves’ disease and thyroiditis cause fatigue, weight gain, and aching muscles.
No one knows exactly what causes autoimmune diseases. In a majority of cases, a combination of factors contributes to the cause. Genetics and environmental factors are just some causes of autoimmune disease. Based on your genetics, you might have a higher likelihood of having and autoimmune disease. These include Crohn’s, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms of these diseases usually reveal themselves after contracting a viral infection. The strain of the infection sets off an immune reaction.
Many people believe that the current state of our environment often leads to increased diseases. While there is still much research to be done, many experts agree on environmental factors that contribute to autoimmune diseases. Gluten, exposure to harmful medications, cigarette smoking, and pollution often lead to autoimmune diseases. Along with these causes are two other triggers of autoimmune disease: diet and high stress.
Conventional physicians often treat the symptoms of an autoimmune disease rather than getting to the core of what is causing the disease. Determining the cause of your autoimmune disease can be a lengthy process involving diet modifications, environmental changes, and several tests such as blood tests and stool tests.
If you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, the most important first step to take is to find a Functional Medicine Physician in your area. Rather than just placing you on medication to ease your symptoms, a Functional Medicine Physician is concentrated on and dedicating to getting to the core of the illness. Combining an Integrative Medicine approach with a Functional Medicine approach is Dr. Maziar Rezvani’s specialty. Dr. Rezvani blends western medicine with prevention, lifestyle modifications, and various modalities of alternative therapy to determine the cause of your illness. Once this has been accomplished, the chances of reversing an autoimmune disease greatly improve.
At Avicenna Integrative Medicine, Dr. Rezvani and his staff focus on your body’s natural healing abilities and create a personalized plan of action for you to achieve wellness through mind, body, and spirit fusion. If you suspect you have an autoimmune disease, or if you have already been diagnosed with one, and would like to reverse it, call Dr. Rezvani’s office today at (770) 977-9300. Working collaboratively, there is a good chance your autoimmune disease can be reversed.