Autoimmune diseases and lifestyle dis-eases have skyrocketed in the last decade. This includes diseases such as cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, thyroid dysfunction and other hormone problems, chronic respiratory disorders, oral disease, diabetes, and mental illness.
What’s interesting about this shift is the research showing that the main contributors to autoimmune diseases and lifestyle diseases are caused by individual lifestyle choices, habits, diet, stress, altered microbiome, exposure to toxic chemicals, disrupted circadian rhythms, and environment.
Autoimmune diseases are at an all-time high and continue to increase. Autoimmune occurs when the immune system attacks healthy organs and tissue in the body. In other words, the immune system can no longer tell the difference between healthy tissue and harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses, and pathogens.
When your immune system is compromised—with not enough immunity or too much immunity—the basis of what’s happening is that the body can no longer recognize the difference between self and other.
The American Autoimmune Related Disease Association has classified more than 100 different autoimmune diseases. As of 2012, nearly 50 million Americans, 20% of the population or one in five people suffer from autoimmune diseases, and that number continues to climb.
75% of autoimmune sufferers are women, often affecting women between 20-50 years of age.
The number of people with autoimmune disease now surpasses those with heart disease! In fact, autoimmune conditions are one of the leading causes of death in young and middle-aged women, the second leading cause of chronic illness, and the third leading cause of Social Security disability (after heart disease and cancer).
Other disorders also thought to be related to autoimmune conditions are: autism, eating disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, narcolepsy, and Lyme disease.
Allopathic practitioners are perplexed by the drastic increase in immune conditions like cancer, Lyme, and autoimmune conditions, which is leaving a lot of people frustrated, hopeless and confused.
Many are turning to natural methods, functional medicine and holistic nutrition, but not sure where to begin.
Why does the body begin to send antibodies to attack itself? With rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the joints; with Hashimoto’s and Graves, it attacks the thyroid; with MS it’s the nerves; with Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and Celiac disease the immune system attacks the intestinal cells…
More and more researchers are looking to the gut/bowel/microbiome connection as the gatekeeper or as one of the first dominoes to fall as autoimmunity progresses. With 80% of the immune system residing in the gut, looking at GI function and healing the gut becomes a no-brainer.
It’s been my experience (as well as many of my colleagues), that if you fix the gut, the antibodies have a better chance of quieting down their expression.
“All disease starts in the gut.” ‒Hippocrates
What’s causing the rise in autoimmune disease and other lifestyle diseases?
With every single autoimmune patient that I’ve personally worked over the years, 100% of them had at least 5 or more of the following:
Inflammation due to food sensitivities, environmental toxins, poor diet, bacterial overgrowth, probiotic deficiencies, essential fatty acids, omega-3s and other nutrient deficiencies, partially digested proteins, disrupted circadian rhythms, excessive use of antibiotics, NSAIDs and other drugs, chronic EMF and EMR exposure, psychological stress… the list goes on and on.
With any autoimmune disease or any other health challenge for that matter, the condition does not just pop up overnight . . . the process starts years, if not decades earlier.
For healing and restoration to occur, many spokes of an individual’s ‘health wheel’ must be factored into the health equation. This requires peeling away the various layers of the onion. You can never get healthy in the same environment you got sick.
Genetics can predispose someone to an autoimmune disease, however the genes that you have just mean that you’re vulnerable to an autoimmune condition or a particular disease – it does not mean you’re going to get the disease. It’s just a weak link in your chain. Gene expression is controlled by epigenetic regulation, and strongly influenced by the food we eat, our emotions, lifestyle habits, behavior, thoughts, circadian rhythm, toxic load, microbiome, and several environmental factors.
Many people are hyper-focused on genetics and methylation, yet they don’t even have the fundamentals in place. It’s important to build a strong foundation first!
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition or suffers from an unresponsive chronic health challenge, it’s crucial to dig deeper and this means…
Any other treatment is just symptom suppression.
The choices we make each day affect our health. Instead of a danger being “out there,” we have the opportunity every day to nourish our body, mind and soul, and make better lifestyle choices.
Are you ready to invest in your health in order to heal, take responsibility for your choices, and willing to do things differently to get your health back?
A key question that must be answered when I start with a new chronic illness client/patient is: how willing are you to do what it takes to get better once I create a strategy for you? People quickly get the idea that getting healthy is up to them.
In order to be happy and healthy requires a fundamental paradigm shift. The way you think, beliefs about who you are, your behavior and values, what’s important to you, your priorities, and what motivates you all must be challenged.
Most lifestyle dis-eases, autoimmune disorders, health challenges and imbalances can be reversed. The body has an innate ability to heal itself. It takes a plan, an open mind, faith, valuing self, compliance, and a lot of hard work.
Getting healthy isn’t just about what you do, the vitamins you take and the food you eat, it is about changing how you think, your behaviors, priorities, your environment and lifestyle.