Lifestyle changes for people who suffer from autoimmune disease.
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease you know how difficult it can be to cope with it. If you’re a healthcare professional or work in the industry you know how costly managing this type of disease can be on the system.
It is estimated that about 7% of the population of the developed world is now impacted by these illnesses. About 80 different conditions have now be classified as autoimmune and this list is likely to grow. They include illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Celiac, psoriasis and thyroid disease. More often than not they involve inflammation, pain swelling and despair.
Autoimmunity happens when the immune system (the body’s defense mechanism against ‘invaders’) gets messed up. In practical terms it basically boils down to the body fighting something (infection, toxins, allergens, stress response etc.) but in the process it gets ‘confused’ and our own tissues, such as joints, brain, skin and sometimes the whole body get attached by our own immune system.
Generally speaking, medications are used when this happens. Sometimes these meds are lifesaving and other times there could be adverse effects.
Personally, I believe that there are better ways to deal with autoimmune conditions. But for that we first need to ask what caused the body to get out-of-whack and how do we help it re-balance. This is something which is rarely done by conventional doctors and when medication is on hand. Most of the time, immune-suppressing medication is prescribed instead of searching for the cause. This is a bit like giving lots of aspirin to someone who is standing on a nail, instead of simply removing the nail.
I think that a better option is to look for the underlying cause (find the nail). Basically, find the origin of the illness and identify the biological disturbances that caused the symptoms. Those often can be stress related, hidden infections, food allergies or sensitivities, exposure to toxins, nutrient deficiencies, leaky gut or genetic predisposition.
What I usually recommend to people who are keen to find the cause or their autoimmune condition is the following 10 strategies:
Eat anti-inflammatory foods rich in omega-3, leafy green vegetables and curcumin and stay clear from inflammatory food containing gluten, sugar and corn oils.
Search for hidden infections that can include yeast, bacteria, viruses and Lyme disease. Not sure how to? Consult your healthcare practitioner.
Test for food allergies and Celiac disease
Do an elimination diet to identify food sensitivities and allergies.
Get your blood checked for heavy metal (such as mercury) toxicity.
Fix your gut because it’s the root of many autoimmune diseases. To do this eat whole foods and refrain from gluten and other inflammatory foods.
Take supplements and nutrients such as Omega 3, vitamin C and D and probiotics. There are other to consider. Consult your healthcare practitioner.
Exercise regularly because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory. You don’t need to become a professional athlete, just start moving more.
Relax and meditate because it will help alleviate your stress which worsens your autoimmune response. You may want to consider tai-chi, yoga, massage and Heartmath.
Sleep more because lack of sleep or poor sleep can damage the metabolism which leads to sugar and carb cravings leading in turn to eating more and increasing the risk of many conditions from diabesity to autoimmune disease. 7 hours is good, 8 hours is better.
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