Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune cells produce T cells or antibodies that attack self-antigens which leads to tissue injury or destruction. Sometimes the attack is organ-specific, like in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis where the thyroid gland is under attack or in Type 1 diabetes where the beta-cells of the pancreas are singled out. Other organ-specific autoimmune diseases include Grave’s disease, psoriasis, autoimmune hepatitis, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, multiple sclerosis, pernicious anemia, myasthenia gravis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis and Goodpasture syndrome. A generalized or systemic autoimmune disease occurs when the attack is by a diverse number of antibodies against a variety of cells which happens in SLE (Lupus) and RA (Rheumatoid arthritis). Other systemic autoimmune diseases include Sjogren syndrome, scleroderma and polyarteritis nodosa. Autoimmune dysregulation may occur after an infection, trauma, drugs or surgery. People who have close relatives with an autoimmune disease are at greater risk of getting one, or more, themselves, even if it’s not the exact same disease. Autoimmune disorders are more common in women than men.
The conventional medical approach to autoimmune disease is the use of immune suppressing drugs. However, these drugs have a number of risks and side effects associated with them. The naturopathic approach follows a therapeutic order. 1.We remove the obstacles to cure and reestablish the basis for good health. We make sure the patient is getting clean water, clean air, sunlight and nutritious, toxin-free, anti-inflammatory foods. We look at digestion and elimination, sleep and stress. 2.We stimulate self-healing through hydrotherapy, homeopathy, energy work and counseling. 3. We support weakened organs and systems with detoxification and system-focused botanicals and nutraceuticals. 4. We address structural integrity through osseous manipuation, craniosacral therapy and myofascial release. 5. We address the pathology with natural substances such as anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antimicrobials and hormones. 6. If the natural remedies don’t work, we will prescribe synthetics, such as NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, such as Ibuprofen)), corticosteroids (such as hydrocortisone or pregnenolone), or antibiotics. 7. If non of the above work, we’ll refer out for suppression of symptoms by using DMARDs (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs), such as methotrexate or sulfasalazine. If we have to go with 6 or 7, we’ll include adjunct therapy to alleviate the side effects.