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Autoimmunity

How to Get Diagnosed and What You Can Do About It

Are you experiencing unexplained symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, or digestive issues? It could be symptoms of an autoimmune disorder.

Autoimmune diseases occur when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues, leading to inflammation and tissue damage. There are over 80 known autoimmune diseases, so identifying the specific disease can be challenging.

Forum Health’s root-cause approach to functional healthcare can help identify the underlying factors contributing to your symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan.

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune disease is a disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation and tissue damage.

Autoimmune diseases are debilitating conditions. Rather than protecting and raising an alarm when an attack might be necessary, your body’s defenses can become misaligned. In other words, the immune system is “self-reactive,” targeting the body’s own tissues as if they were foreign substances.

What Are the Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease?

Signs of autoimmune disorders include fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and digestive issues, but autoimmune disease symptoms vary depending on the type of disease and which organs have been affected.

At Forum Health, our functional medicine doctors and integrative healthcare providers employ a root-cause approach to identify the underlying factors contributing to your symptoms. This personalized approach helps us determine precisely which part of your body has been affected, allowing for targeted and effective treatment. By prioritizing the root cause of your autoimmune disease symptoms, we strive to not only alleviate your immediate concerns but also improve your long-term health and well-being.

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How To Treat Autoimmune Disease

Integrative and holistic medicine takes a whole-person approach to healthcare, focusing on the interconnection of the body, mind, and spirit. In the case of autoimmune diseases, this approach may involve addressing underlying imbalances or dysfunctions in the body that can contribute to inflammation and other symptoms. 

One strategy for addressing these imbalances is through a gut detox or gut cleanse, such as GDRX. The gut plays a critical role in immune function, and imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to autoimmune diseases. A gut detox or cleanse may help to remove toxins and other harmful substances from the gut, rebalance the gut microbiome, and reduce inflammation. 

A functional medicine approach to autoimmune disease may also involve other strategies such as dietary changes, stress reduction techniques, and supplements or other natural remedies. Forum Health autoimmune specialists are here to develop an individualized autoimmune disease treatment plan that takes into account your specific needs and health concerns.

Autoimmune Disease FAQ

The cause of autoimmune diseases is not fully understood, but genetics and environmental factors may play a role. The immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues, leading to inflammation and tissue damage.

Autoimmune diseases can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as genetics, environmental exposure to toxins or infectious agents, stress, diet and lifestyle. In some cases, the exact cause is unknown. At Forum Health, our providers work with you to find the underlying factor causing your autoimmune disorder and determine the best course of treatment.

Autoimmune diseases can occur at any age. However, some autoimmune diseases are more commonly diagnosed in certain age groups. For example, type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children and young adults, while rheumatoid arthritis is more commonly diagnosed in middle-aged individuals. The age of onset can also vary depending on the specific autoimmune disease and individual factors such as genetics and environmental factors.

Yes. Visit the the Autoimmune Association website for a list of autoimmune diseases.

No, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that does not qualify as an autoimmune disorder because it technically does not directly cause inflammation. However, this is debated in scientific and medical communities, and many doctors believe there may be evidence that fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is an autoimmune disorder. For more information, see this article from the Journal of Clinical Investigation. 

No, excema is not considered an autoimmune disease, even though the immune system may be involved.

Yes, according to the CDC, Psoriasis is an autoiummune disease. 

Autoimmune encephalitis is a type of autoimmune disorder that affects the brain, causing inflammation and damage. Autoimmune encephalitis symptoms may include cognitive problems, memory loss, seizures, hallucinations, and behavioral changes. Autoimmune encephalitis can be challenging to diagnose, and symptoms may initially be mistaken for other conditions such as viral encephalitis or psychiatric disorders.

Autoimmune hepatitis is an autoimmune disease that affects the liver, causing inflammation and damage to liver cells. Autoimmune hepatitis symptoms may include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, itchy skin, and joint pain. If left untreated, autoimmune hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.

While autoimmune disorders share common symptoms, they can affect different parts of the body and have varying symptoms. For example, autoimmune encephalitis specifically affects the brain, and autoimmune hepatitis specifically affects the liver.

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