An autoimmune disease, disorder or condition develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, becomes unbalanced and treats healthy cells as if they were pathogens needing to be destroyed. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy body cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), autoimmune diseases affect up to 50 million Americans. (Roddick, 2014)
When the micro-organisms living in the body’s gut microbiome, a major part of our immune system, become chronically out of balance (gut dysbiosis), chronic inflammation develops there and elsewhere in the body and eventually leads to a diagnosable autoimmune problem or other illness – even cancer.
Here’s a useful A to Z list of over 100 autoimmune diseases, disorders and conditions and their symptoms. (autoimmunediseaselist.com, 3/18/2014)
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association lists 80 autoimmune diseases and autoimmune-related diseases on its site. (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, 2014)
Commonly occurring autoimmune diseases include (Roddick, 2014):
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: affects skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs
- Multiple Sclerosis: affects the brain and spinal cord
- Celiac Sprue Disease: a reaction to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine
- Pernicious Anemia: decrease in red blood cells caused by inability to absorb vitamin B12
- Vitiligo: white patches on the skin caused by loss of pigment
- Scleroderma: a connective tissue disease that causes changes in skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs
- Psoriasis: a skin condition that causes redness and irritation as well as thick, flaky, silver-white patches
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): a group of inflammatory diseases of the colon and small intestine
- Hashimoto’s Disease: inflammation of the thyroid gland
- Addison’s Disease: adrenal hormone insufficiency
- Graves’ Disease: overactive thyroid gland
- Reactive Arthritis: inflammation of joints, urethra, and eyes; may cause sores on the skin and mucus membranes
- Sjögren’s Syndrome: destroys the glands that produce tears and saliva causing dry eyes and mouth; may affect kidneys and lungs
- Type 1 Diabetes: destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas
Functional Medicine is a way of practicing medicine that focuses on optimal functioning of the body and its organs, usually involving systems of holistic or alternative medicine.
The Institute for Functional Medicine describes the approach like this:
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual. (Institute for Functional Medicine, 2014)
THE AUTOIMMUNE SUMMIT
Amy Myers, MD, is a well known and highly respected Functional Medical doctor practicing in Austin TX and the author of The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases (available January 27 2015).
She has organized a very interesting online AUTOIMMUNE SUMMIT dedicated to teaching you about the root causes of autoimmune diseases so you can reverse and prevent them. It’s FREE and takes place November 10-17 2014. You can sign up for it here.
The participants in this AUTOIMMUNE SUMMIT are experts in the fields of Functional Medicine, nutrition, and autoimmune disease who will explain how leaky gut, genetics, and environmental triggers such as toxins, food sensitivities, infections, and stress all play a part in the development of autoimmune disease.
* Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with one or more of the autoimmune diseases, disorders, or conditions?
* Do you have a family history of autoimmunity and want to learn how to prevent it?
* Or are you a healthcare provider who wants to better treat your autoimmune patients?
* If these describe you or you just want to learn more about preventing, treating, and reversing these conditions, The Autoimmune Summit is for you! The information you will learn will put you on the road to better physical, mental and spiritual health.
A sampling of the speaker line up and what you’ll learn about how to manage your autoimmunity problems naturally:
Mark Hyman, MD: A Functional Medicine Approach to Autoimmunity
Alessio Fassano, MD: The Role of Gut Permeability in Autoimmune Diseases: How To Distinguish Facts From Fantasies
Robb Wolf: What is the Paleo Diet, and How Can It Help Reverse Autoimmunity?
Sarah Ballantyne, PhD (AKA The Paleo Mom): The Problem with Grains and Legumes in Those with Autoimmunity
Terry Wahls, MD: Macronutrients, Micronutrients, Mitochondria, and Autoimmunity
Datis Kharrazian, DC: Understanding Hashimoto’s and Other Thyroid Conditions
Chris Kresser, Lac: Updates on Low Dose Naltrexone and Autoimmunity
AMY MYERS, MD
This is Dr Myers’ website. It’s worth taking a look at and reading her own story of the route that led her to practice Functional Medicine.
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (2014). Autoimmune and Autoimmune-Related Diseases. See: http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/list-of-diseases/
AutoimmuneDiseasesList.com. (3/18/2014). Autoimmune Diseases List. See: http://autoimmunediseaselist.com/
Institute for Functional Medicine. (2014). What is Functional Medicine? See: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/about/whatisfm/
Myers, A. AmyMyersMD.com. See: http://www.amymyersmd.com/
Myers, A. (2015). The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases. See: http://www.amazon.com/Autoimmune-Solution-Spectrum-Inflammatory-Symptoms/dp/0062347470/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415576888&sr=1-1&keywords=amy+myers+md
Roddick, J. (2014). Autoimmune Disease. Healthline.com. See: http://www.healthline.com/health/autoimmune-disorders#Types2
© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.