WHAT IS AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE?
Autoimmune diseases are a group of complex and chronic conditions that occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages healthy cells, tissues, and organs in the body. Normally, the immune system is designed to protect the body against harmful pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. However, in autoimmune diseases, the immune system fails to recognize the body's own cells as "self" and instead targets them as if they were foreign invaders.
The impact of autoimmune diseases on individuals can range from minor impacts day to day, to being rather profound, as they can affect virtually any organ or system in the body. Symptoms vary depending on the specific disease, but commonly include fatigue, pain, inflammation, and dysfunction of the affected organs. Autoimmune diseases can be long-lasting and can significantly impair a person's quality of life, leading to disability for some if not properly managed.
Autoimmune diseases collectively affect a substantial portion of the global population. In Canada alone, it is estimated that up to 5 million people are living with autoimmune conditions, and the prevalence is on the rise. Women are more commonly affected than men, with many diseases showing a female predominance. Although the exact causes of autoimmune diseases are not fully understood, a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors are believed to play a role in their development.
There are over 80 known autoimmune diseases, each with its own unique characteristics and target tissues. Some of the more common autoimmune diseases include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis)
These conditions can vary widely in terms of severity, prognosis, and treatment options. Diagnosing autoimmune diseases can be challenging, as symptoms can mimic other conditions and often require a comprehensive evaluation by healthcare professionals.
At Absolute Health & Wellness, we understand the complexity and impact of autoimmune diseases on individuals' lives. Our dedicated team of specialists is experienced in diagnosing and managing various autoimmune conditions, providing personalized treatment plans to help improve symptoms, slow disease progression, and enhance overall well-being. Through a multidisciplinary approach and ongoing support, we strive to empower our patients and optimize their quality of life in the face of autoimmune diseases.
WHO SHOULD I SEE AT ABSOLUTE HEALTH AND WELLNESS?
At Absolute Health & Wellness, we truly use a multi-disciplinary approach to treating Autoimmune Disease.
We recommend all patients with autoimmune disease to consult with a Naturopath.
We may also rely on physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopaths, massage therapists to address some of the physical complications of some autoimmune diseases.
HOW WE COMMONLY TREAT AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
- Supplements (Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals): many natural substances have strong human research showing they can be effective in treating autoimmune disease, even in conjunction with pharmaceutical medications
- Lifestyle and Behavior Modification: the things we do everyday such as diet/gut health, exercise and sleep have huge impacts on our health, including our immune system
- Acupuncture: for pain management, circulation and other benefits in autoimmune disease, acupuncture may be recommended.
- Physical Medicine: when there is joint involvement, muscular pains or any neurological involvement, our team of physios, chiros, osteos and massage therapists can have roles to play in assessment and treatment.
Every person is different, and autoimmune diseases are all different. Even the same condition in two people can presents differently, so we always take an individualized approach to treating your autoimmune disease.