The rates of autoimmune disease are ever increasing.
The National Institutes of Health notes that 5-8% of the US population has an autoimmune disorder. The most common are Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Psoriasis.
Autoimmune diseases can affect many of our daily activities. Our immune system is designed to recognize and attack foreign invaders. With an autoimmune condition, our immune system works against us by attacking tissues, organs, and cells.
There are many theories as to why the rates of autoimmune disease are rapidly increasing.Recently, the National Institutes of Health released a study suggesting a connection between Epstein Barr virus and MS:
“The findings strongly suggest that EBV is part of the chain of events that leads to most cases of MS.”
Other research points to western diets altering how our immune system recognizes foreign invaders vs self. These diets negatively affect our natural microbiome, and this compromises our immune function.
There may be different events colliding at one time that set off a chain reaction. For example, exposures to different chemicals in our environment can trigger the immune system to work against itself. Researchers have shown that lead and mercury can be associated with the onset of autoimmune disorders. Pesticides and insecticides have also been demonstrated to increase the risk of developing an autoimmune condition.
There is no one cause of developing an autoimmune condition.
Many factors play into the rogue functioning of our immune system. Regardless of the events that led up to an autoimmune diagnosis, the patient must first have the genetic susceptibility to the disorder.
Dr. Meghan Haggarty, ND has many years of experience testing for and identifying root triggers. Patients may be recommended stool testing to determine levels of abnormal pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungus), inflammatory markers, and good bacteria. Other recommendations may be to consider heavy metal testing and/or environmental exposures such as mold and pesticides.
If we can identify a negative influence on our immune system, a treatment plan can be tailored to this. However, potential triggers are not always identifiable, and treatment plans need to be designed around this. Autoimmune disorders often present with inflammation to our bodies. Intravenous treatments and hyperbaric oxygen can help to decrease the inflammatory cascade caused by an autoimmune condition. Several studies have shown beneficial effects with hyperbaric oxygen treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and colitis. Researchers have also identified several benefits of intravenous curcumin to decrease inflammation in autoimmune diseases.
Naturopathic doctors have many tools to help identify underlying issues and treat autoimmune related conditions.
Questions? We can help.
Schedule a consult with one of the naturopathic doctors at the Nardella Clinic today to talk about how we might be able to help with autoimmune conditions or anything else at all.