Literal Self Destruction
Autoimmunity boils down to this: our immune system miscalculates what it is supposed to attack, and inadvertently begins to send the troops out to destroy your own tissues. Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Vitiligo, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Celiac disease, and Sjoren’s Syndrome are some of the most common autoimmune diseases that we see in clinical practice.
Conventional Approach: Manage It
“Management” is the best word to describe the approach the conventional model typically takes toward autoimmune illness. For example, a doctor amy offer you higher and higher doses of thyroid replacement, immune modulating drugs, phototherapy, steroids, or immunosuppressive agents. Despite these “management” approaches, you may still be symptomatic. Worse yet, you may experience symptoms that are not classically associated with autoimmunity but often co-exist:
- gastrointestinal complaints
- brain fog
- depression or anxiety.
Beyond offering you more than “management” medication (with their own added side effects), the conventional model does not have great answers to these coexisting symptoms.
An Alternative Paradigm: Move Beyond Symptom Management
Functional and Integrative Medicine recognizes the utility of symptom-focused interventions, but also recognizes their limitations. Conceptually we understand that Inflammation (a naturally occurring process to clear the “bad stuff,” but when on over-drive begins to negatively impact health) and Autoimmunity have a bi-directional relationship that have further impacts the brain, gut, and hormone systems. A more comprehensive approach could include:
- Workup and elimination of ALL inflammation sources: stress, dietary, infectious, etc.
- Focus and treatment of intestinal permeability, AKA the “gateway to autoimmunity.” Addressing intestinal permeability is crucial to halting current autoimmunity, and also to preventing further autoimmunity in other systems of the body.
- Utilization of validated supports such as Curcumin and Resveretrol to optimize the inflammatory state, when indicated.
- Recognition and desire to address the “fall out” symptoms of autoimmunity via in-depth and personalized laboratory analysis to map out the connections between the various symptoms one may be experiencing.
A Functional or Integrative medicine approach can co-exist with conventional medicine, and/or be your primary path to halting autoimmunity. Let’s take action to cease fire on self!