The spectrum of autoimmunity.

dustan-woodhouse-RUqoVelx59I-unsplash.jpg

After my mom’s recent lupus diagnosis and then interviewing over 30 experts on the topic for the Conscious Eating Summit, I have become somewhat obsessed with autoimmune disease, it’s root cause, and the associated patterns in Chinese medicine. 


The thing that I have realized is that autoimmune disease is far more prevalent than most people think.  Unfortunately, the average person just thinks multiple sclerosis or graves disease when they hear the word autoimmune and so they are not being proactive in prevention.  It feels too far removed from their personal health and symptoms.  


In reality, there are many diagnosis and imbalances that fall into this category.  Not to mention that I feel that there is a spectrum in health and many people are sub clinical as a diagnosis doesn’t happen until there is organ system failure.  


Just to give you an idea of some of the diagnosis, here is a full list created by the American Autoimmune Association.  However, there continues to be more research showing that it’s possible that imbalances such as asthma or cancer, also have their roots in an autoimmune process.


As I mentioned, there is a spectrum in health.  So at the low end of the spectrum are those who are only moderately inflamed.  They get occasional acne, digestive issues, and fatigue. They have 1 or 2 symptoms that show up a couple times a month.  Many fall into this category and have just accepted it as normal and “liveable”. They tend to only treat by symptom suppression.  


In the moderate part of the spectrum are those that experience symptoms of chronic inflammation but have not yet turned into full-blown autoimmune disorders.  These may include joint pain, obesity, allergies, muscle aches, fatigue and digestive issues. They have anywhere from 2 to more than 3 symptoms that occur most days or every day. These individuals are at a high risk of developing an autoimmune condition and need to address their inflammation immediately.  People that fall into this category tend to feel like their symptoms are negatively impacting their lives and may find that symptom prevention is no longer working for them.  


The end of the spectrum is a clinically diagnosed autoimmune condition.  This is when there is an organ system failure. Conventional western medicine would tell you that you will need to be on medication the rest of your life.  But what I have found through my research, working with clients and interviewing leading health experts, you can actually radically transform your health and life and live a symptom free life, if you choose.  


If you make the choice not make lifestyle and dietary chances and avoid addressing root cause triggers for your condition, not only are you signing up for a lifetime of drugs with the possibility of minimal symptom improvement.  But once you have one autoimmune condition, it significantly increases your risk of getting more.


There is a misconception that having an autoimmune condition means that your body is confused and therefore attacking itself.  That there is something wrong with your body.  In reality, there is a good reason as to why your body is doing this. 


Your body’s immune system is confused.  It is confused for a few reasons but a big one is the enormous load of environmental toxins we are all being exposed to. 


We are exposed to a ridiculous amount of pollution.  (This is why I firmly believe if you want to be healthy you need to be an environmental advocate as well!) Over 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into our society since 1900 and only 550 have been tested for safety.  We are all eating a credit card’s worth of micro plastics every week. We are constantly being exposed in our homes, in our cars, in our work spaces, the water we drink and the food we eat.  


Combine that with possible leaky gut, a poor diet and a high stress lifestyle and you have a recipe for inflammation….and eventually autoimmunity.   


This is why I believe everyone should be aware of the treatment and prevention of autoimmune conditions.   


It is 100% relevant to everyone.  And I say that because I feel like most people on the planet right now are living on this inflammatory spectrum.  Where you are on this spectrum may vary but your ability to improve is available to everyone if you choose to change your lifestyle and food choices.  


In the coming weeks, I am going to share with you more information about root causes, the traditional Chinese medicine view of these patterns, and what you can start doing right now to improve your health.  


nancy crowellComment