Your body’s immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disorder your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune disorders can affect almost any part of the body. These diseases may run in families. Women in general especially African American, Hispanic American and Native American have higher risk for autoimmune disorders. Recent estimates indicate that 1 in 12 women and 1 in 20 men in the U.S. will develop an autoimmune disorder sometime in their life. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders and many symptoms over lap. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (highest risk autoimmune disorder in a recent study), polymyalgia rheumatica (second highest risk autoimmune disorder), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), multiple sclerosis, SjÃ¶gren’s, scleroderma, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, giant cell arteritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter’s syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, Celiac disease, Sicca syndrome, Raynoud’s syndrome, and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) are usually diagnosed by a rheumatologist and treated with DMARDS or disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs such as steroids, and various immunosuppressive drugs.
The causes of autoimmune disorders involve an interaction of a genetic predisposition with environmental triggers such as toxic exposures, nutritional deficiencies, gluten sensitivity, and infections.
Functional Medicine Evaluation and Treatment for Autoimmune Disorders
Dr. Yost’s functional medicine training involved the etiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of complex chronic diseases. Functional medicine is an integrative science-based healthcare approach that treats illness and promotes optimal function by focusing assessment on the biochemically unique aspects of each patient. Treatment is personalized to create a context of healing within the individual’s body and the relational environment in which they live. Nutritional, immune-inflammatory, gastrointestinal, liver and hormonal factors will be evaluated through specialized tests. Dietary changes will be recommended. Non-narcotic, nutritional and natural treatments with scientific backing will also be recommended based on test results. Medical research strongly supports dietary factors in treating autoimmune disorders.