I have spent two years, studying the work of experts in the field of autoimmunity and have combined what I’ve learned, in 24 steps. I’ll be sharing one step every week for the next 24 weeks, on my website and social media platforms (starting Monday 18 May 2020). This is step 2 of 24.
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STEP 2: UNDERSTANDING WHAT CAUSES AUTOIMMUNITY.
Perhaps the most important step in reclaiming your life from autoimmunity is understanding what caused your disease. Why is that? To understand why, let’s first look at the way conventional medicine treats autoimmune disease and why this is not a long-term solution.
Most people turn to conventional medicine to be diagnosed. It is now estimated that people see an average of 6 doctors over a period of 4 years before they get diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. You might start out bouncing from doctor to doctor because nobody can figure out what is wrong with you. One of the problems is that conventional medicine consists of different specialities. You are referred to a specialist who focuses on the body part or system that is attacked. You will see a gastroenterologist for celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. You’ll see an endocrinologist for Hashimoto’s, and you’ll see a rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis and so on. Remember, in step 1 you learned that autoimmune diseases all look different but have one thing in common, an immune system that attacks your own cells. The problem with conventional medicine is that an immune system specialist simply does not exist. To make matters worse, some people have two or more autoimmune conditions and are likely to see two, three or even four different specialists. Once you’ve been diagnosed, the specialist will probably hand you a bag full of powerful medication to treat the symptoms and some might even tell you:
- You cannot heal and recover from autoimmune disease.
- The only way to treat autoimmunity is with powerful medicine.
- You will have to make peace with the side-effects of the medication.
- Diet does not matter. What you eat won’t make a difference.
- Going gluten-free is a diet fad and won’t make a difference.
- Autoimmune disease is genetic and unfortunately, your genes are your destiny.
We now know that none of the above are necessarily true and that many experts believe that conventional medicine is not a long-term solution for autoimmunity. We cannot only look at our symptoms and then take powerful medication to treat those symptoms. Yes, there is a time and a place for medicine, without a doubt, but if you only take medicine and not address the cause, it is like stepping on a piece of glass and using pain medication to numb the pain without removing the piece of glass. By simply removing the piece of glass your foot will heal.
This is where functional medicine differs vastly from conventional medicine. Where conventional medicine typically treats the symptoms of your disease with medicine, functional medicine sees your body as a whole and first identifies the cause of your disease and then finds ways to address the cause as part of a holistic treatment plan. That is why it is crucial to understand what caused your disease.
Thanks to research done by Dr Alessio Fasano in 2009, we know that three things must be present for an autoimmune condition to develop: a genetic predisposition, a leaky gut and a trigger. These triggers include certain food, infections, toxins and stress. If we know and understand what caused our disease and we address or remove the cause, surely it should be possible to reclaim your life from autoimmunity.
I’ll be discussing each of these causes and triggers as we work through the 24 steps.
- Genetics to be discussed in step 5.
- Food to be discussed in step 6.
- Leaky gut and gut health to be discussed in steps 7 – 14.
- Infections to be discussed in step 15.
- Toxins to be discussed in step 16.
- Stress to be discussed in step 17.
If you are eager to learn more and to start your healing journey, I invite you to join the 6-month Autoimmune Way program for only $7 per month.