Q: How do I know if I have an autoimmune condition?
A: The only definitive way to find out is to test for it. For thyroid, it would be thyroglobulin antibodies and thyroid peroxidase antibodies. If these come back elevated, then they are autoimmune. However, sometimes these tests are false negatives which can complicate and confuse things. Symptomatically, I will look for “waxing and waning” which means someone will feel good for a time period and then crash and start feeling all of their symptoms again. This is a sign that someone could be autoimmune. Another sign is that they are being prescribed medications for other problems that have developed which are symptoms of the original problem.
Q: What is an autoimmune condition?
A: Autoimmune means that the persons’ immune system is attacking and destroying the body. It thinks that the tissue that it is attacking is foreign and is trying to kill it. There are many types of autoimmune conditions. If the body is attacking the thyroid, it is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, if it is attacking the nervous system, it is called multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes is the pancreas and celiac’s disease is the gut. Others are psoriasis, scleroderma and lupus to name a few. The important thing to know is that it is not a thyroid or a nervous system or a gut condition. Even though these tissues are the ones being attacked, IT IS AN IMMUNE SYSTEM CONDITION! One of the main reasons that people with an autoimmune condition don’t get better is because the immune system is not addressed.
Q: What triggers the immune system to attack the body?
A: It can range from a food or multiple food sensitivities, to a hidden gut infection to environmental toxins, or heavy metal toxicities. The problem I see is that when something is identified, most do not continue to keep searching for all of them. Some people may only have one triggering mechanism but most have more than one.
Q: How do you find what is triggering the immune system to attack the body?
A: The best way is to test. Testing can specifically identify to triggering agent/agents so a proper treatment plan can be set up.
Q: Will I always be autoimmune?
A: When people ask me this question, most of the time the mean “Will I ever feel normal again?” First of all, most people with an autoimmune condition that I have seen have returned to a normal lifestyle with few or no symptoms. Some, depending on how long they have had it, respond more slow. If they continue with their new lifestyle that they have been taught, they can live a normal or near normal life. Once someone is autoimmune, they will always be autoimmune but that doesn’t mean they will always be symptomatic.