A Daunting Effect on Daily Life.
As many as 50 million people suffer from an autoimmune disease today. Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Thyroid Disease, and Type 1 Diabetes are some of the most common, and they all share one daunting characteristic – debilitating symptoms with no clear solutions in sight.
Autoimmune disease occurs when the body identifies its own cells as foreign, and begins attacking healthy tissues, which in turn leads to many of the common conditions seen today. Several theories exist on what exactly causes the immune system to begin misidentifying cells, but many experts agree that systemic inflammation is one of the main contributors to this rapidly growing issue. Modern medicine encourages healthcare professionals to treat the overarching symptoms of these diseases – however, this route does not solve the root of the issue, but merely provides a bandaid for a deeper, more complex ailment. For years, people have endured the symptoms of their autoimmune diseases and resolved themselves to living with a lifelong condition, because no cures have existed – yet.
With disease numbers on the rise, physicians are being forced to consider unconventional techniques to provide their patients with more long-term symptom relief. Emerging practices within the realm of functional medicine are offering a new hope – one that considers the idea of curing a seemingly incurable disease not completely out of the question.
Putting Out The Fire: Inflammation.
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), more than $100 billion dollars is spent annually on direct healthcare costs for treatment of autoimmune diseases. Finding a more effective, long-term solution can no longer be just a talking point when discussing these growing numbers; the financial impact alone is enough reason to initiate a more in-depth investigation, focused on finding the root of the issue. Many experts agree that a great place to start is in putting out the fires of inflammation.
Although readily available drugs like Advil, steroids, and other anti-inflammatory agents can offer a short reprieve from symptoms, they do not present a plausible long-term solution. Not to mention, if overused, those medications can cause their own set of dangerous side effects like intestinal bleeding, depression, and increased risk of cancer. Inflammation is often caused by a combination of internal and external factors, which all combine to create the perfect breeding ground for a variety of autoimmune diseases:
- Hidden infections such as yeast, bacteria, or viruses
- Environmental factors: heavy toxicity from metals like mercury
- Food allergies
- Disrupted gut flora
- Nutrient deficiencies
Physicians who practice functional medicine are trained to look at these places first when determining the root cause of a patient’s inflammation and subsequent disease. If those factors can be identified and removed from the individual’s diet and environment, many symptoms of their conditions will normally clear up on their own.
Conventional Medicine vs. Functional Medicine.
It’s undeniable that conventional medicine serves its purpose for those who suffer from autoimmune diseases. When flare ups come on without warning, immediate relief is usually a necessity; but what if there was a solution to avoiding the flare ups altogether? Enter functional medicine.
Functional medicine is a prevention-based approach to health and wellness that focuses on identifying the root cause of disease. It acknowledges the unique differences that arise from each individual suffering from the same condition, whereas conventional medicine tends to treat all cases the same. Determining specific genetic and environmental patterns is essential to formulating a game plan for taking on any disease, and offers the most promise for remission. There is potential out there to relieve symptoms of autoimmune disease – for good. If functional medicine sounds like an approach you see fitting into your lifestyle, click here to get started.
Supplement With A Healthy Lifestyle.
Integrating healthy habits into your daily routine will set you up for long-term success when attempting to cure any disease. Many holistic practices can offer additional support when setting out to reach these goals:
- Maintaining a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods
- Supplement your diet with essential vitamins and minerals
- Exercise regularly
- Research different alternative medicines that may aid in symptom relief
- Practice deep relaxation techniques to encourage whole-body healing
No two people are the same when it comes to a specific ailment. Experimenting with the wide variety of holistic options available is essential when tailoring a specific treatment plan for each individual. It’s important to discuss any changes to your treatment regimen with your healthcare practitioner before implementing them into your life. “Lifelong” is a diagnosis so many have been given. In our opinion, “cured” has a much better ring.