Autoimmune disease is a chronic disorder that disrupts the immune system, causing inflammation throughout the body. More than 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disorders, which include diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s Disease, and Celiac Disease.
There are countless medications and treatment options available for different autoimmune disorders, ranging from ongoing steroid use to control inflammation, to surgery to remove affected areas of the body that have grown damage due to inflammation and resulting infections.
Many people with autoimmune diseases are surprised to learn that autoimmune diseases can be helped dramatically by healthy lifestyle changes and behavioral strategies that put your health first.
Addressing Chronic Illness with Healthy Habits
Autoimmune diseases aren’t something that appear overnight. For some, an autoimmune disease is caused by a series of genetic factors. Many autoimmune diseases come with a heavy genetic predisposition, so if your parents have the problem, then you might as well. However, genetic predisposition only predisposes you to a risk. Something in your environment needs to trigger the immune reaction. There are a series of environmental and lifestyle factors that are associated with particular autoimmune disease, and it is actually possible to control the symptoms of an autoimmune disease, if not the disease itself, by altering your habits so that you can adjust to a healthier way of living.
For example, the following strategies are shown to help alleviate many of the symptoms of autoimmune disease:
- Healing the gut by removing proteins and other foods that cause inflammation and irritation in your colon. For example, removing gluten from the diet of someone with Celiac will likely alleviate the symptoms of the disease.
- Optimize your diet by eating foods that reduce inflammation and promote better health. The best dietary practices for you will depend on the type of autoimmune disease you struggle with. Talk with your functional medicine doctor for assistance putting together the diet that is best for you.
- Reduce stress in your life by practicing daily relaxation techniques and learning healthy coping mechanisms that will help you manage stress more efficiently. Too much stress can actually activate an autoimmune response, causing more inflammation throughout the body. Keeping a journal, practicing deep breathing techniques, and exercising regularly can help you manage your stress better.
If you struggle with autoimmune disease, know that there may be treatment options outside of invasive surgery and side-effect laden medications. Talk with your functional medicine doctors about alternative treatment options that will help you experience better health while living with autoimmune disease.