What is autoimmunity? This is term is growing in use by both conventional and alternative medicine. It is commonly mentioned in relation to certain health concerns. Health concerns like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), and Type 1 diabetes are a few examples. Yet, what does it mean exactly? And more so, what does it implicate for the patient and practitioner?
The Definition of Autoimmune
“Autoimmune” (the prefix “auto” meaning “self”) describes an illness stemming from a confused immune system. The immune system is “confused” because it attacks itself. The body cannot discern between healthy normal tissues and foreign invaders or “antigens.” When this happens, the immune system can attack perfectly good cells. This in turn, causes inflammation, pain, and other symptoms.
Autoimmune, chronic inflammation typically grows into a chronic disease in and of itself. It can originate or occur in many areas of the body. It can also worsen other already established diseases.
Implications of Autoimmunity
Our understanding of how autoimmune diseases work gets clearer over time and through research. However, we still don’t quite know what causes autoimmune diseases.
Treating and managing them can be frustrating for clients. This is because while autoimmune diseases are very prevalent today, they have hardly been researched in mainstream medicine.
There is no clear-cut trigger common to every autoimmune disorder. Diagnosing one can be a long and difficult journey filled with uncertainty, misunderstanding, and trying out many different methods from client to client to see what works for each individually.
Why investigate the possibility of autoimmunity in an illness?
Quite simply, autoimmune issues may be the hidden root of general discomfort and disease. Autoimmunity could be a subtle element to illness that mainstream practitioners may overlook. We may be treating the tip of the iceberg rather than the iceberg itself.
“Autoimmune issues may be the hidden root of general discomfort and disease.”
There are tests to determine possible autoimmune responses, yet not many conventional doctors or specialists know about these tests or even when to use them.
As such, it is up to us alternative practitioners and wellness coaches to pick up on autoimmune issues as being a potential factor. A wellness coach can promote education and proactivity on self-care in this area.
Benefits of Considering Autoimmunity:
- The real holistic problem that needs attention could be autoimmunity, the root cause of a patient’s other illnesses or symptoms.
- Addressing autoimmunity in a client’s protocol or diet could lift away confusing yet common symptoms. These symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, headaches, and more.
- Healing autoimmune inflammation alleviates symptoms of certain other diseases caused by or associated with faulty immunity.
- Targeting possible chronic inflammation could help a client feel better and get healthier faster compared to chemical medications that mask symptoms of a bigger pattern of illness (autoimmunity).
Autoimmunity and living an inflammatory lifestyle are just a few of the wellness concerns our students learn about here at the IAWP. If you’d like to be in the forefront of helping others learn about wellness, self-care, and living their lives to the fullest, we’re here to help you realize your full potential.
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