Some autoimmune disorders, like other immune system problems (allergies), can be with us from birth or a very young age (Type 1 Diabetes, for example). Other autoimmune disorders strike us later in life (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis). Although modern science hasnâ€™t found an exact causal path that can help us to either prevent or cure autoimmune disorders, inflammation is an addressable factor in many types of autoimmune disorders. For others, proper supplementation may ease symptoms, especially when the autoimmune disease interferes with nutrient absorption.
An autoimmune disorder is a disease that causes the immune system to fail to distinguish between pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) and your body, causing the immune system to attack the body–either in an onslaught that creates a life-threatening situation, or slowly and over time, like how diabetes attacks the pancreas or rheumatoid arthritis attacks the joints. There are nearly 100 known types of autoimmune disorders, and any one of them can wreak havoc on your organs (including, of course, your skin).
Some possible symptoms of autoimmune disease:
- Fatigue, Fever, Redness/Swelling (signs of inflammation)
- Discomfort, especially near the joints
If more severe symptoms present, like sweating, shaking, or other signs that an organ may be failing, seek immediate medical attention.
Medical treatment for autoimmune disorders often requires strict observation and a regimen of various drugs, which, depending on the autoimmune disease, may include immunosuppressives and anti-inflammatories. Many drugs used to treat or manage autoimmune disorders have harsh side-effects that need to be monitored and may require more medication to treat the side-effects.
Natural steps to easing the symptoms of an autoimmune disease include rest, exercise, and particularly, ensuring proper diet and supplementation. Nutrition and supplementation are important in dealing with an autoimmune disorder for the following reasons:
- Prevention of diseases and limited contact with pathogens may help prevent an out-of-control autoimmune response for certain autoimmune disorders. It nevertheless is important to be on top of disease prevention if you are taking immunosupressants. Look for natural ingredients with antibiotic and antiviral properties.
- Proper nutrition seems extra important when you remember that you have a disease slowly grating against your organs. Ensure that youâ€™re getting nutrition that supports the health and recovery of your organs. Itâ€™s also important if the autoimmune disease affects the GI Tract and interferes with nutrient absorption. Look for brands that offer highly bioavailable forms of various nutrients, making them more easily absorbed.
- Sometimes an immune disorder may be triggered or worsened by a nutritional disorder. Ensuring that you are getting all your nutrients (consider getting a blood test to confirm you are able to absorb them all) may ease symptoms.
- A healthy diet usually includes lots of vitamins and other foods full of antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation caused by an autoimmune disease can spread to other body parts, including eyes, lungs, heart and skin. Keeping inflammation in check is especially critical to overall health when you are suffering from an autoimmune disease.
How have you or a loved one managed autoimmune disease symptoms?