Approximately 20 percent of the population of the United States suffer from an autoimmune disease. Are you one of those?
By Kristin Grayce McGary LAc., MAc., CFMP®, CSTcert, CLP.
Will You Get an Autoimmune Disease?
50 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease costing almost 100 million dollars a year. It’s a growing number. And while you may believe that you’re healthy, eat well and “never get sick” you could have autoimmunity – a pre-diagnosable disease state.
Any autoimmune disease always begins with autoimmunity – where the body’s immune response attacks healthy cells and tissues, glands and organs eventually manifesting into a full-blown disease. Put simply, the body has misidentified a part of itself as a foreign invader and mistakenly attacks it.
According to John Hopkins University’s Autoimmune Disease Research Center, autoimmune diseases are a special threat to women. Indeed, more than 75% of their patients are women. (1)
Sadly, autoimmune diseases are among the ten leading causes of death among women in all age groups up to the age of 65. (2)
I’ve had an autoimmune disease called Hoshimotos Thyroiditis. About 90% of all thyroid disorders are actually autoimmune issues but they are left misdiagnosed or undiagnosed until such extensive damage is done to the thyroid gland that it’s difficult to fully recover. I suffered for years before I discovered what was really going on. I needn’t have suffered and I can help you to protect yourself from autoimmunity by passing along some of the knowledge I have accumulated.
Conventional medicine practiced in the West has few answers for those suffering from autoimmune issues and there’s little sight of a cure. It has been my experience that autoimmunity and full-blown autoimmune diseases are symptoms of deeper issues. Allopathic medicine tends to focus on relieving symptoms rather than getting to the root cause of the problem. From my point of view, autoimmune issues, such as allergies, food sensitivities, digestive issues, foggy thinking, exhaustion, weight gain, repeated infections, even cancer are red flags. Clearly, as far as I am concerned, they point to a dysfunctional immune system. And that can lead to any one of a number of crippling autoimmune diseases such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
“Never getting sick”, may seem to you like a good thing. That you’re doing OK. But it could very well be the complete opposite and a sign of an underactive immune system – it may even be the beginning of an autoimmune disease. It takes a well-regulated, strong, and balanced immune system to create a fever and kill a bunch of bad bugs that have invaded your body. A fever is one of the most natural anti-cancer reactions your body can produce. It’s a time when your white blood cells are ten-fold and they are kicking the butts of the invading viruses. In my view, the last thing you should do is suppress that fever with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Fever suppressants shut off an important immune response and don’t allow your body to do what it was designed to.
So how can you avoid an autoimmune disease or help your body to recover from one?
Fortunately, holistic and functional healthcare providers have developed approaches that get to the root of autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases providing. relief and remission. And in my opinion, it usually begins with the gut. The gut is the throne of your immune function. About 75% of your immune system comes from your gut which makes it essential to the functioning and balance of your immune system.
Remember I said that autoimmune issues can take years to fully manifest? This means your gut may be inflamed and out of sorts without you even knowing it or you may dismiss symptoms that you attribute to aging that are actually a sign of a deeper issue. An autoimmune issue may be lurking and you won’t even know it until it could be too late. Take note of allergies, food sensitivities, digestive issues, such as gas and bloating, constipation or diarrhea, fatigue, repeated infections or lack of fever they could be warning signs of something more serious.
In my practice, I worked with a patient who had chronic joint inflammation and pain in the knees, shoulders, and hands. She was also taking prescription thyroid medication but had never had a full thyroid panel (10 markers as opposed to the conventional standard of TSH, T3, and T4). I found it surprising that she had been prescribed a particular medication without a detailed analysis of the gland that the medication was supposed to be supporting. Furthermore, she had never had a truly comprehensive functional blood chemistry analysis which would shed light on any deeper medical issues. In my opinion, her conventional doctors had been working blind.
I always want to see a full panel of tests. When I saw the results of this patient’s tests what we found was shocking. She’d been taking thyroid medication for at least 10 years and her thyroid antibodies were high. No one had ever bothered to test them or explain their importance to her. Once we were fully armed with the appropriate data, she began a gut repair nutritional and lifestyle program. Within weeks her antibodies dropped, her joint pain vanished, and she reported clearer thinking. Not only was gut repair helping regulate her immune system it was also helping support her brain. (The gut is commonly known as the Second Brain.)
In order to really know the degree of risk you’re facing for autoimmunity or an autoimmune disease, I recommend a truly comprehensive lab panel that is interpreted by someone who understands how to look for the underlying root issues and can individualize treatment based on your unique health and life expression. Additionally, that health care provider also must be able to interpret your comprehensive lab results based on functional medical reference ranges rather than their limited conventional counterparts. You are unique and what works for you may not work for your best friend. It’s necessary to get all the information and also have it properly interpreted according to your individuality and health goals.
Kristin Grayce McGary LAc., MAc., CFMP®, CSTcert, CLP is a highly sought-after health and lifestyle alchemist. She is renowned for reversing annoying and debilitating health conditions and helping people to live with clarity and vitality. Kristin Grayce is also a speaker and author of Ketogenic Cure; Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Life. www.KristinMcGary.com