Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body instead of foreign threats and diseases. It can cause symptoms such as fatigue, joint and muscle pain or swelling, recurring fever, swollen glands, digestive issues, and more. Examples of autoimmune disease include rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and more. Through Buckhead functional medicine, you can get the help you need to not only manage the symptoms, but the underlying causes as well.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, there are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases affecting around 24 million people in the United States. Many of these conditions are considered chronic and “incurable” by Western medicine.
In most cases, traditional Western medicine “treats” autoimmune disease by on controlling reactions with steroids or immunosuppressants. However, this approach simply hides the symptoms and does not seek to find and treat the underlying causes of the disease.
What Does it Mean to Treat Autoimmune Disease Holistically?
Holistically treating autoimmune disease focuses on determining and treating the underlying cause of the autoimmune disease. Our functional medicine practices are similar in that they aim to treat the whole body, which means tackling the root causes of pain and other symptoms.
Autoimmune disorders are, at their core, an immune response or systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissue. Inflammation can be caused by several different factors, including hidden allergens, infections, environmental toxins, inflammatory diets, stress, and more. In small doses, our bodies can handle inflammation, but when the inflammation gets out of control (often referred to as runaway inflammation) our body’s tissues often get caught in the crossfire, resulting in autoimmune disorders or disease.
Treating autoimmune disease holistically means getting to the root of what is causing systemic inflammation, healing the damage caused by inflammation, and removing the causes or imbalances that resulted in the inflammation. In many cases, this can heal autoimmune diseases. In others, holistically treating autoimmune disease can significantly reduce symptoms by better managing immune responses.
How to Treat Autoimmune Disease Holistically with Buckhead Functional Medicine
To treat autoimmune disease holistically and with functional medicine, it’s important to identify factors that may be causing or triggering excessive inflammation and immune response in your body. By identifying these underlying factors, a patient and their holistic healthcare provider can work together to design a functional and holistic treatment plan that heals existing damage from the inflammatory factors while helping prevent continued exposure that can trigger or exacerbate autoimmune disease.
Identify and Eliminate Potential Toxins
Toxins are often a culprit in systemic inflammation. It’s necessary for our bodies to rid ourselves of these toxins to function healthily, and functional medicine can help with that. However, with repeated or extreme exposure, this can leave our bodies fighting to eradicate the toxins for extended periods of time. This can result in systemic inflammation and can trigger or exacerbate autoimmune disorders.
Examples of toxins that can increase inflammation include cigarette smoke, pesticides, and mercury. Naturally detoxifying the body and reducing exposure to these toxins can be helpful in holistically treating autoimmune disease.
Identify & Heal Underlying Infections
Many people experiencing autoimmune disease may have underlying infections causing a runaway autoimmune response. Examples of this may include sinus infection, yeast infection, viruses or bacterial infections, etc. A holistic doctor can help identify and treat these conditions to help reduce inflammation in the body to help heal and treat autoimmune disease holistically.
Holistic & Functional Medicine Will Also Help Look for Hidden Allergens or Sensitivities
In many cases, individuals with autoimmune disease may have sensitivities or allergies to food or may have diets high in naturally inflammatory foods. The most common of these are dairy and gluten. A holistic doctor will be able to work with you to identify foods that may be triggering your autoimmune response due to a food sensitivity or allergy and help devise a treatment plan for eliminating these factors in your diet. These plans often incorporate aspects of functional medicine as well to fit the unique needs of patients and their lives.
Functional Medicine & Holistic Treatment Can Heal a Leaky Gut
A leaky gut can also contribute to autoimmune disease. Taking a holistic approach to healing a leaky gut, including identifying and eliminating foods contributing to the disorder, reducing stress or NSAID use, improving sleep, and improving gut flora can help to improve inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
Stress is a common cause of systemic inflammation in the United States. It is also a common factor in worsening your body’s autoimmune response. Reducing stress and improving relaxation is often an important step in treating autoimmune disorders holistically. Natural treatments for reducing include meditation, yoga, massage, and exercise.
Improve Your Immunity
When undergoing holistic treatment with a Buckhead functional medicine practice for an autoimmune disorder, individuals may also improve by strengthening their body’s immune system. This can often be done by improving diet, getting adequate sleep, and sometimes by taking select supplements orally or via IV drip therapy. For more information about the right immunity treatments for you, speak with your holistic health care provider.
Get Your Health Back with Functional Medicine at CentreSpringMD
Learn more about how holistic health can help treat autoimmune disease with functional medicine. Contact CentreSprings MD today to schedule an appointment with a holistic doctor or click here to schedule a Virtual Visit with one of our holistic doctors in Atlanta.