Autoimmune disease is a group of conditions that are associated with abnormalities of immune system regulation. The normal function of the immune system is to defend the body by attacking foreign invaders such as viruses, and destroying them before they can invade the body and cause illness. With autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes your own cells as harmful invaders and attacks them instead. There are autoimmune diseases that only affect specific organs in the body, or it may target the entire body, including a wide range of organs.
What Causes Autoimmune Disease?
The reason behind what causes the immune system to malfunction, which results in autoimmune disease, has not been identified, but the development has been linked to heredity.
Different Types of Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune disease is not classified as an overall general illness, however treating the disease is associated with particular organs, so there is no general standard for treatment plans. Various forms of autoimmune disease include:
Thyroid autoimmune disease: Also known as Hashimoto’s disease, is a disease that attacks the thyroid, The thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system and performs functions such as producing hormones that coordinate many of your body’s functions. The results of Inflammation from Hashimoto’s disease can often result in an underactive thyroid gland. Some symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, cold sensitivity, muscle aches, and enlargement of the tongue. Treatment for Hashimoto’s disease is often completed through hormone replacement, and these treatments are typically effective.
Celiac Disease: This form of the autoimmune disorder typically can occur in genetically predisposed people and is a result of the digestion of gluten causing damage of the small intestine. When individuals with celiac disorder ingest gluten, it causes the immune system to attack the small intestine. This ultimately leads to the inability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients properly. The only known way to treat celiac disease is to maintain a strict gluten-free diet. However, if you feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of the celiac disorder, it is important to seek treatment because without treatment there is a strong chance of developing serious health conditions,
Neurologic Immune Diseases: These types of conditions include MS, or Multiple sclerosis, which affects the brain and spinal cord. This form attacks the protective sheath, which is associated with nerve fibers. It causes a communication malfunction from the brain to the rest of the body, and can lead to the deterioration and permanent damage of the nerves. There is no cure for MS, however there are treatments that can accelerate recovery following attacks.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can be associated with immune dysfunction as a viable risk factor. This contributes to the neurodevelopmental deficits observed in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These associations are recognized to occur during the prenatal and postnatal periods of development.
Treatments for Autoimmune Disease
Conventional medical treatments for autoimmune disease often include medications that are overall immune-suppressing rather than searching for the root cause and directly addressing the specific source. However, there is now a new system for addressing autoimmune disease through functional medicine, which aims to focus on treatment through addressing the source and not just the symptoms. Functional medicine is a revolutionary mindset that teaches practitioners to understand the body as an overall system. This encourages the understanding of each functioning system, and the ability to better identify the specific function affected by a particular form of autoimmune.
If you feel that you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with autoimmune disease, it is important and encouraged to seek treatment from a functional medicine practitioner. Reach out to our office here at the Medical Transformation Center to learn more. Contact us today and schedule your consultation!