Autoimmune disorders can develop when your immune system fails to protect your body, and instead attacks it, leading to a number of difficult to identify conditions.
Your immune system is a system of special cells and organs that protect and defend your body from germs and potentially harmful foreign invaders with antibodies. Generally, your immune system has the ability to differentiate between what’s you and what’s foreign to your body. However, sometimes your immune system can mistakenly attack your body due to an inability to tell the difference between healthy body tissue and antigens (harmful substances). This causes autoimmune diseases to develop.
Autoimmune diseases can result in the destruction of body tissue(s), abnormal growth of an organ or changes in organ function. They generally affect organs and tissues such as:
- Connective tissues
- Endocrine glands (thyroid or pancreas)
- Blood vessels
- Red blood cells
Some common autoimmune disorders include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Graves’ disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Causes of Autoimmune Diseases
The response of the body during an autoimmune disease is a hypersensitivity reaction similar to that of an allergic reaction. The exact cause of this reaction in the body is unknown, but some health professionals believe that triggers such as food allergies, heavy metals, toxins or chronic infections cause the immune system to go into “overdrive”.
Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases
The first step towards treating autoimmune disorders is trying to determine what the trigger was for the condition. Dr. Waller and her staff will look for heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic or cadmium, toxins in your liver enzymes, liver profile or oxidative stress levels. They will also check for food allergies (specifically gluten and dairy) and intestinal function.
Once the cause(s) has been determined, treatment will consist of:
- Dietary changes
- Oral supplements or IV
- Infrared sauna
- Inclusion of digestive enzymes
- Natural anti-inflammatories
The method of treatment will depend on your specific disease and symptoms.
With functional medicine, doctors strive to find the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases. By determining and treating the underlying causes Dr. Waller can help to not only reduce your symptoms, but aid in maintaining your body’s ability to fight disease and remain healthier.