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Autoimmune Diseases (AID) when grouped together are the leading cause of disability and death in America resulting in over 24 million per year. In fact, according to AARDA (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association), there are over 100 listed diseases that are considered to be of autoimmune origin. And, if one includes what we call the Autoimmune Spectrum, we consider many other conditions that are in various stages to become a full-blown Autoimmune Disease. Yet, our medical system likes to separate these diseases into different systems of the body. And therefore, you have a variety of "medical specialists" who claim to treat these diseases within their specialty.
So why is this a problem for patients? Each medical specialist believes that they are treating the disease or illness for which the patient seeks treatment. When in reality, there form of treatment is basically the same know matter what medical specialist you are seeing. They prescribe immuno-suppressants or anti-inflammatories. These medications are designed to suppress the immune system and reduce local and systemic inflammation. And with these medications, they are only attempting to manage the patients symptoms. They have no answers to reduce, correct or reverse autoimmune disease because they are not educated nor trained in treating AID. So again, why is this a problem for patients? Well, simply stated these are powerful drugs for the body meaning they have their own inherent toxicities. Also, they do nothing to actually treat the disease! And many times, over the course of years when frustration sets in for the patient, and there doctor tells them they do not know what else they can do for them, the patient is left on there own to seek medical care for this disease which has most likely worsened and now the patient may have additional autoimmune diseases.
So what's wrong with this picture? As mentioned previously, our medical professionals (i.e. specialists) have very little training in medical school on autoimmune disease, plus in a survey taken by AARDA, they concluded that their medical training is inadequate to treat patients and that they do not have the confidence in treating patients with AID. But because our medical system is "in bed" with the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, patient's do not know that there are other choices! So my suggestion to all my patients who are being treated by a medical specialist is to ask the doctor...."Will these medications cure my autoimmune disease?" The answer is a resounding, NO!
Fortunately, researchers have been getting closer to a cause. And from what we do know is that even though all autoimmune diseases have a genetic link, it is our environment and lifestyle that plays the major role in turning ON or turning OFF our genes that may result in an autoimmune disease. Alessio Fasano, MD who is one of the foremost researchers on gluten and Celiac disease stated from his research that are three criteria that result in AID. They are 1) our genes, 2) our environment and 3) intestinal hyper-permeability (aka. Leaky Gut). With that said we have control of numbers two and three. And by seriously correcting these two, does it not make sense that we can have a positive impact on reversing autoimmune disease?
This is the work of Functional Medicine Practitioners, to determine the underlying causes of dysfunctions within the body, try to remove them and support the body with improved dietary and lifestyle changes to promote an environment whereby the body can heal!
So if you or a family member is suffering and not seeing improvement, then maybe Functional Medicine is your bridge to regain your health! You can email or call for a FREE 20 minute consultation to see if Functional Medicine is right for you.
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