What are autoimmune diseases?
An antigen is a natural or synthetic substance, and it is only a small part or parts of a cell, bacteria, virus or other microorganism.
Inevitably, it can look like a small part or several parts of our own cells too!
If unfortunately, the immune system gets it wrong, disaster strikes.
Indeed the immune system will then start to produce antibodies against this or these similar antigens and will, therefore, by mistake, begin to destroy our own body.
That’s what we call an autoimmune disease.
It can strike at our thyroid, nerves, joints, intestines, or any other part of our body. It’s as if the soldiers are shooting at their own citizens, mistaking them for the enemy.
What needs to be understood is that while theoretically, we understand the antigen-antibody reaction relatively well, it is still a complex and delicate system that can easily turn against us.
In 2018, according to Inserm, the national institute of health and medical research in Paris, around 8 % of the world’s population is affected by an autoimmune disease.
However, this number is already 5 years old, and we know that many patients are simply not diagnosed. Therefore, we can safely assume that more than 10% of the world population is concerned with autoimmune diseases.
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What can cause autoimmune diseases?
The immune system can be fooled by multiple mechanisms.
For example, it can be fooled by the introduction into our body of antigens, fragmented in a way that is incompatible with our genetics.
Another example is introducing toxic adjuvants into our body to excite our immune system inappropriately or the intrusion of antigens directly into our muscles, blood, and deep layers of the skin, bypassing the nonspecific first line of defense of our immune system.
Unfortunately, these mechanisms are in play with vaccinations. It’s the reason why vaccines are one of the major causes of immune dysfunction and, inevitably, autoimmune diseases.
The problem is that today modern medicine cannot interact with our complex immune system without harming it.
List of common autoimmune diseases
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Lupus erythematosus
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid. Antibodies are made against the thyroid and eventually prevent it from functioning properly. After a few years people develop a more or less severe hypothyroidism.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It is thought that the triggers are self-antigens, the immune system reacts against elements already in the body and this stimulates a way too fast skin renewal.
This reaction leads to severe peeling of the skin (including the scalp) with varying degrees of redness, swelling and itching.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune destruction of the cells of the pancreas that make insulin. This disease occurs mainly in childhood, making the person dependent on insulin injections for life.
Autoimmune hepatitis is still poorly understood and, in most cases, associated with other diseases such as ulcerative colitis. This disease is an example of the complexity of immune dysfunction, as it can be asymptomatic for months or years and can be triggered after taking a drug or a vaccine. Symptoms can be variable and non-specific, making this disease difficult to diagnose.
Lupus erythematosus is much better known. In the majority of cases, lupus is said to be disseminated, i.e. it affects all tissues and organs but with varying degrees of severity. Antibodies are multiple and directed against the body’s tissues. The symptoms vary and include fever, fatigue, nausea, joint and muscle pain and skin problems.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints and over the years ends up deforming and destroying them. It is a chronic and painful disease that has a variable severity and can affect all the joints of the body.
How are autoimmune diseases generally treated?
With conventional medicine, treatments consist of suppressing the functioning of the immune system in a more or less strong way.
In general, cortisone is used first, and then the transition to immunosuppressants is almost automatic. Indeed, cortisone cannot be used long-term without causing serious side effects such as osteoporosis or diabetes.
Depending on the autoimmune disease, drugs with immunomodulatory properties can be used, such as hydroxychloroquine in lupus erythematosus.
Hydroxychloroquine has been much talked about over the last 3 years as it also has anti-viral properties known since at least 2005 and anti-parasitic properties (malaria).
Therefore, some molecules have complex and polyvalent actions.
Methotrexate is another drug that is often used in autoimmune diseases and is considered chemotherapy because it reduces cell proliferation.
As for immunosuppressants, in the strict sense of the term, their mode of action is diverse. They can directly destroy white blood cells, block receptors for inflammation messengers or be antibodies to certain messengers.
Unfortunately, their toxicity is important, both at the level of the liver and the organism in general, deteriorating health when used long-term.
To add insult to injury, the body can produce antibodies against certain immunosuppressants!
Sometimes a combination of two immunosuppressive drugs is required to control the symptoms of a patient with an autoimmune disease. In the medium and long term, the risk of cancer increases in patients treated with immunosuppressive drugs, as the immune system obviously cannot be suppressed without consequences
How can a Holistic Natural Health Expert help in preventing/treating them?
Firstly, it is important to understand that auto-immune diseases, in general, are hard to treat. Therefore, the top priority is to prevent them by protecting your immune system. If you want to know more about how you can do that, read our article on how to protect the immune system.
Secondly, the amount of help a holistic natural health expert will be able to give will depend greatly on many different factors like:
- Type of auto-immune disease
- Severity of the symptoms
- Duration of the disease
- General health condition of the patient
- Other diseases of the patient
If, for example, the patient is followed by a holistic natural health expert since the diagnosis of the disease, the results will be much better than if the patient consults after 10 years of affection.
Also, it is critical to take into account the causes of the disease. If the cause is one or several vaccines, the treatment will be much more complicated.
In short, although conventional medicine will give a common diagnosis, in natural medicine, it is only with the patient’s unique health assessed that we can determine what help we can bring him.
The good news is that even if auto-immune diseases are hard to treat, they can benefit greatly from a long-term follow-up with natural medicines.
If an autoimmune disease is not treated, it will cause damage to the organs/systems involved. If it is under control, it can remain stable for years or even not occur at all. Additionally, if we succeed in doing that with only natural medicine, we can benefit from the total absence of side effects compared to the dreadful side effects of chemical medication.
This is due to the fact that with natural medicine, we only have an immunoregulatory effect, never an immunosuppression effect.
In parallel, natural medicines will help improve the patient’s general health condition. That way, if the auto-immune disease can’t be controlled with only natural medicine, it will also help reduce the number of immunosuppressive drugs that need to be taken.
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