Autoimmune Disorders: What You Need to Know

Think you don’t know anyone with an autoimmune disorder? Guess again. Autoimmune disorders are more common than you might think and can range from relatively mild conditions to life-threatening diseases. If you’re one of the millions of people affected by an autoimmune disorder, or if you’re just curious about this growing category of diseases, read on for essential information about these conditions. 


Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders where the immune system incorrectly identifies its tissues as foreign and attacks them. It’s like your body is against itself. That can cause some serious damage. 


Attack and impair 


Imagine your immune system starts producing antibodies to some of the organs in you, like Hashimoto’s or autoimmune thyroiditis. Since this is happening because they are attacking their body part, the thyroid gland, it will be damaged too. If not treated quickly enough, the thyroid gland can stop producing essential hormones that regulate everything from metabolism rate to how we look. You would have to be on thyroid supplementation. 


Another form of autoimmune disease affects connective tissues, muscles, and joints. These diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjogren’s syndrome. These diseases can damage your muscles, ligaments, and joint spaces. The body produces antibodies that go and attack your muscles. This can cause problems like arthritis, pain, and swelling.


Autoimmune disorders are on the rise, and recent research points to the gut as a major player in their development. In particular, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause damage to the lining of the gut, making it difficult to absorb nutrients. This can lead to a host of problems, including malnutrition and weight loss.


Autoimmune diseases set in motion


Autoimmune diseases develop when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. Although the exact cause is unknown, experts believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role. 


For example, one theory suggests that autoimmune diseases may develop when an individual has a genetic predisposition for the condition and is exposed to certain environmental triggering factors, such as poor nutrition. If your nutrition is poor, you’re likely deficient in many nutrients, which can lead to a weakened immune system and an increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease.


If you’ve ever been insulted, had something happen to your body that was perceived as an insult – you know how your body can react. It can develop a bacterial or viral infection or any kind of injury. It can also stimulate the development of autoimmune disorders. But how do autoimmune diseases develop?


When your body perceives an insult, it sets off a chain reaction that leads to inflammation. This inflammation can damage healthy tissues and lead to the development of autoimmune disorders. So, if you want to avoid developing an autoimmune disorder, it’s important to avoid anything that could trigger this inflammatory response. But then again, that’s easier said than done. 


Imagine your gut is like a net. In a perfect world, only water and nutrients would be able to pass through the tiny holes in the netting. But, in reality, sometimes bigger things slip through. Things like undigested food particles, bacteria, and viruses. When these things escape into your bloodstream, your body freaks out and produces antibodies to attack them. The problem is, that sometimes these antibodies get confused and start attacking healthy cells in your body instead. And that’s how autoimmune diseases develop. While there are many contributing factors to how autoimmune diseases develop, gut health is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. 


Identify the indicators and then get tested 


People with autoimmune diseases often feel very tired. They might gain or lose weight. They might have numbness and tingling, and they might have diarrhea or constipation. Most of the time, these people have multiple symptoms at the same time. These symptoms can include pain and inflammation in the joints, low motivation, and low sex drive. It is very hard to lose weight when you have an autoimmune disease. All of these symptoms are giveaways that someone has an autoimmune disease, especially when they happen chronically.


Autoimmune diseases are often tricky to diagnose because there are a lot of different indicators and possible symptoms. Blood tests are a great way to start narrowing things down. Your healthcare provider can order a specific panel of tests that will look for different antibodies. Once they know which antibodies are present, they can start to piece together which organ or system may be affected. The great thing about functional medicine laboratory is the best place to start as well as it focuses on you. With goals set by you being part of the team, we can usually get to the bottom of things and find a way to help you feel your best.


Autoimmune disorders are complex and can be difficult to diagnose. However, armed with the right information and by working closely with a functional medicine practitioner, you can identify the symptoms of autoimmune diseases and get on the road to recovery. If you or someone you know is suffering from an autoimmune disorder, please call our office for a free discovery call. We would be happy to discuss your situation and see how we might be able to help. Thank you for reading!



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DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional 

About Anchor Wellness Center

Known for her successful treatment of mystery illnesses, Dr. Minni Malhotra and her team at Anchor Wellness Center combine an integrative, functional medicine approach with the appropriate lab testing.

Our unique approach to diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders recognizes that lasting health depends on resolution of the root causes of your disease. Click here to learn more »