You’ve probably heard about ‘autoimmune diseases’, and may wonder why the fuss?
Unfortunately, autoimmune disease (AD) has become increasingly prevalent, and the associated ‘burden of disease’ may appear to be acute in accordance with one’s ‘flare-up’ in symptoms; but, what many don’t realise is that: AD is chronically disabling as it significantly reduces one’s quality of life, and often leads depression and even suicide.
Just to clarify: What is an autoimmune disease (AD)?
Autoimmune disease is a disease characterised by an ‘overactive’ immune system that attacks your own tissues. It could be your thyroid, skin, brain, intestines, or other organs that are attacked. In order to treat, prevent, and reverse autoimmune disease; you need to get your immune system under control.
Common ADs include Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and diabetes.
Your immune system is a very sophisticated system that is designed to keep you safe…when its functioning optimally. Its job is to identify all of the foreign substances that enter your body; and if deemed dangerous by your immune cells, it will produce antibodies to ward off the harmful intruders.
Autoimmune diseases are born when your body is working hard to defend itself against something potentially dangerous; such as an allergen, toxin; infectious agent, or even a food; but fails to differentiate between the intruder and parts of your own body. Your stressed immune system then turns antibodies against you, and mistakenly attacks your own tissues instead of invaders.
Here are 6 pointers that Dr. Sedicka considers when treating autoimmune disease:
Eat an ‘anti-inflammatory’ diet:
The Standard American Diet promotes AD by impairing your immune system. Learn about which pro-inflammatory foods to avoid, and which anti-inflammatory foods to include – remember, this can differ from patient to patient. Individualised nutritional support is key!
Maximise your nutrient intake:
Support immunity by getting in all the immune-loving nutrients. Enjoy anti-inflammatory & nutrient-dense foods – think bright coloured vegetables, clean protein-sources, omega 3’s and healthy fats – and ensure that you’re meeting your vitamin & mineral needs. Ask your health professional to assess your nutritional status!
There are multiple ways to reduce stress. Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, and ‘rewire’ the brain to allow you to better handle whatever challenges life throws at you. Dr Sedicka believes that everyone should consider incorporating mindfulness therapy into their daily lives, and she can practically assist you to do so.
Get More Sleep
Ensure that you get in enough hours per night; but more importantly, optimise your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycles) by maintaining a consistent sleep/wake schedule, sleeping in a completely dark room, and avoiding blue light exposure at least an hour before bedtime. Don’t compromise on rest!
Watch Antibiotic Use
Of course, antibiotics have their place in the medical field. However, there’s no question that antibiotics are vastly overused in our society. Excessive or unnecessary antibiotic use might contribute to autoimmunity by depriving the body of microbes that are necessary for building healthy immunity.
Lowering the ‘toxic burden’ is crucial for reducing the risk of autoimmunity. Here are some practical ways to lower your toxin exposure:
- Invest in a high-quality water filter to detoxify drinking water.
- Choose organic, whole foods where possible; and avoid highly genetically-modified foods.
- Cosmetic products and skincare products can contain ingredients which can disrupt hormones or be contaminated with potential carcinogens. Choose ethically sourced products; that are as free from these questionable ingredients as possible. Look out for: petrochemicals, mineral oils, SLS/ SLES, PEGs, silicones, phthalates, formaldehyde releasers, phenoxyethanol, synthetic fragrance or colour.
- Stay away from plastic as often as possible. Even if it says ‘BPA free’; ditch them! Use stainless steel or glass.
- Use ‘green’ cleaning products at home. Switch out harsh cleaners laden with synthetic antimicrobial agents for natural enzyme- and essential oil-based cleaning products. Synthetic cleaning agents disrupt the gut microbiota and may impair the body’s immune response.
At TASH360, we’re a complete house of health professionals. We’ve got someone for everyone, and someone to address every health condition. Here, you’ll find all the support & help to address the underlying, contributing factors to your autoimmune disease.