Addressing Immune System Dysfunction Holistically
The human body has an amazing ability to heal itself. When we treat it well by providing it with proper nutrition, rest and exercise, and controlling exposure to emotional, physical, and environmental stress, it can usually do so effectively.
Our complex immune systems, when functioning properly, identify and attack foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, parasites and toxins in an effort to protect the body’s cells and tissues. When not, however, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its host and destroys the healthy tissue it’s supposed to protect. This is known as autoimmunity.
The number of autoimmune cases we see has been steadily rising, in particular, the Hashimotos, the leading cause for hypothyroidism, and the digestive disorder Crohn’s Disease. Both cause a host of painful and frustrating life-disrupting symptoms, including excessive fatigue, painful joints, depression and brain fog (Hashimoto’s,) and severe stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue (Crohn’s.) Inflammation is a consequence of both.
There’s no single cause for a chronic autoimmune reaction. Genetic predispositions, lifestyle/environmental factors, infections or a combination of these or other triggers can result in an inappropriate autoimmune response.
But even though it seems obvious that our overall health can be affected by what we eat, breathe and think, the impact of diet, stress management, and exposure to toxins and other stressors is often overlooked, if not altogether dismissed, by conventional medical practitioners who favor pharmaceutical interventions.
Their typical treatment plans often include immunosuppressive medications, steroidal anti-inflammatories or hormone replacement therapy, which may effectively treat some of the symptoms of autoimmunity in the short term, but do nothing to address the underlying cause for the immune system dysfunction nor prevent the disease from progressing. What’s more, in the early stages of the disease process, prescription medications (and their multiple negative side effects) may not even be necessary.
The goal of functional medicine is to approach autoimmunity through natural and holistic care solutions that address the underlying cause of illness and not just treat the symptoms.
By looking at all aspects of a person’s health, the reason for immunity dysfunction can be identified and balance restored, many times allowing symptoms to resolve on their own and halting the progression of the disease.
Functional medicine seeks to understand each patient’s unique way of interacting with their own internal and external environment to help identify individual triggers, such as infections or food sensitivities. Unlike conventional medicine’s one-size-fits-all approach, functional medicine’s more individualized method accounts for all aspects of a person’s health and lifestyle history to maximize healing and minimize further destruction.
We encourage you to contact us for specialized testing and a thorough and individualized wellness assessment to understand holistic treatment options for your autoimmune disease or better understand your risk for autoimmunity.