What is Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system identifies a particular tissue of the body incorrectly as an invader. The immune systems function is to protect the body from external invaders that might cause disease. As a result the immune system attacks the body tissue in question causing inflammation, and damage to the cells in question.
What are some Symptoms of Autoimmune disease
As there are many different types of autoimmune diseases the specific symptoms can vary quite significantly. Symptoms can also vary in severity depending on how pronounced the autoimmune disease is. General symptoms may include:
- Redness of specific tissue
- Loss of function
How are Autoimmune Diseases diagnosed?
Depending on the type of autoimmune disease, different diagnostic techniques may be used including:
- Blood tests
- Clinical signs and symptoms
- Tissue biopsy
What causes Autoimmune disease?
The actual causes of autoimmune disease are largely unknown. Current theories suggest there may be genetic contributing factors. Other considerations include situations that contribute to increased inflammation in the body such as diet, allergies and foreign invaders.
What are some common types of Autoimmune Disease?
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Some types of Eczema
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Coeliac Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
How is Autoimmune Disease Traditionally Treated?
- Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS)
- Diseased tissue or organ removal
- Corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication
- Immunoglobulin therapy
- Immune suppressant medication
What are some other options for managing Autoimmune Disease?
As the immune system essentially begins in the digestion any poor function or aggravation of the digestion can cause a malfunction of the immune system. Many common foods in our western diet can affect our digestion leading to increased inflammation in the body which can potentially be associated with autoimmune type diseases.
Harvard Medical School now defines a clear link between gut health, your digestion, and mental health. So the health of your digestive tract can directly affect how you feel, but this can also occur in reverse. Our mental and emotional stress can significantly affect our gut health and therefore increase our inflammation running the risk of autoimmune disorders occurring.
Working on stress management can help reduce the risk of this occurring. Meditation techniques along with other methods can be very powerful ways to help return your immune system to health.
Chinese medicine may be able to assist with:
- Management of pain, stress and fatigue related to some autoimmune disorders, in consultation with other treating health practitioners
- Management of pain, fatigue and nausea related to many chronic diseases
- Management of vomiting or nausea arising from chemotherapy
Author: Jeff Shearer
Registered acupuncturist, Evolve Natural Medicine
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M: 0416 280 777