There are more than 100 different autoimmune diseases. A healthy functioning immune system strives to protect the body from invaders such as viruses or bacteria, and it does this by producing antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cells. When the immune system is functioning as it should it cannot be triggered to attack its own body, however, sometimes the immune cells become confused and attack the cells they are meant to protect. This leads to a variety of different autoimmune conditions.
TO LIST ONLY A FEW...
I wish I could tell everyone… autoimmune disease is on the rise, and women are most affected... be proactive!!!
It is believed that the development of autoimmune disease is driven by the triangle of: compromised gut barrier/intestinal permeability issues (leaky gut), an event physical/emotional/or mental that triggers a response, and a genetic predisposition. Triggers can be stress, bacterial, viral, yeast, parasites, foods that the body is sensitive to, or trauma to the body.
The glands in our bodies that help it to function and achieve certain necessary tasks such as the thyroid, adrenal, ovaries, testes, pituitary, and pancreas all make hormones and these hormones can both drive and affect autoimmune disease or be targets of the immune system. Autoimmune disease can wreck your hormones. AND… most people dont realize that estrogen is highly likely to have adverse affects on the immune system. It is believed that estrogen heightens inflammation in the immune system and may potentially increase the number or antibodies we have attacking our tissue. In those with estrogen dominance or excess estrogen this could be a disaster. Spikes and plunges in estrogen can drive autoimmunity especially during peri-menopause. Women often experience flares in symptoms during this time. Cortisol imbalances regulated by the HPA axis can be disrupted by stress (mental, emotional, physical) and create a rise in inflammation and autoimmune disease. We have many studies linking an dis-regulated HPA axis to autoimmune disease.
Early symptoms of autoimmune disease are vague and this makes it difficult to diagnose. Fatigue, muscle aches and pain, and brain fog are common complaints among my patients. But by far, the most common sign in most autoimmune conditions is inflammation. This inflammation causes pain, redness and swelling. Symptoms can furthermore vary depending upon what is the target of the autoimmunity. Thyroid disease can manifest as fatigue, hair loss, and weight gain or loss. Multiple sclerosis results in difficulties with coordination and walking. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the joints and results in painful joints and swelling that limits function. I could go on and on. The point is even the most vague generalized symptoms can be the result of autoimmune disease.
I can not stress enough how important it is to balance your hormones and be aware and proactive if you are experiencing symptoms of hormone dis-regulation. This is part of prevention of autoimmune disease. If you are experiencing these things please visit your functional medicine provider to be evaluated.
Our approach is to find the root cause or trigger. We do this with functional and conventional testing such as stool analysis, DutchPlus hormone and cortisol testing, nutrient testing, dietary antigen or sensitivity testing, and other advanced antibody and inflammatory marker testing.
To learn more about AUTOIMMUNITY AND HOW TO PREVENT IT OR TREAT IT inquire on the site or give us a call.
The Fork Functional Medicine
110 3rd Ave N.
Franklin, TN 37069
Phone: (615) 721-8008
Fax: (615) 237-8331
Monday: 9am - 5pm
Tuesday: 9am - 5pm
Wednesday: 9am - 5pm
Thursday: 9am - 5pm
By appointment only
Telemedicine visits are available to patients in the State of Tennessee. See further information under patient info.