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Autoimmune Disease On The Rise In America

Autoimmune Disease

The prevalence of autoimmune disease is on the rise with nearly 50 million Americans suffering from autoimmunity. Yet both patients and doctors do not fully understand the disease and its causes. Here’s what you need to know from a functional medicine perspective:

The immune system typically protects one from disease and infection. An autoimmune disease, however, occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body. This causes illness--not prevents it.

Nearly 100 autoimmune diseases and disorders exist. Two of the most common include Hashimoto’s disease (in which the thyroid is attacked) and Celiac disease (an immune reaction to eating gluten). Other autoimmune diseases include: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), multiple sclerosis (MS), and Guillain-Barre syndrome.


Symptoms of autoimmune disease resemble those of other illnesses which makes receiving a diagnosis of autoimmunity difficult. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue

  • Joint pain

  • Weight gain

  • Depression

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Thinning hair

  • Eczema

  • Brain fog

Root Causes

While some are genetically predisposed, most autoimmune diseases are caused by inflammation in the body. It’s critical, in treating a patient with autoimmunity, to look at the body as a whole and identify and reduce the source of inflammation. Potential inflammatory factors include:

  • Inflammatory foods (gluten, sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, processed food)

  • Chronic stress

  • Environmental toxins

  • Leaky gut (when one’s gut becomes compromised--allowing food particles and bacteria to enter the bloodstream)

  • Food allergies

The Takeaway

If you struggle from symptoms of a chronic illness yet haven’t received a definitive diagnosis, it’s time to evaluate whether an autoimmune disease is to blame. At Total Body Health, we will help you get to the root cause of the issue. Call today for your FREE consultation.

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