Autoimmune diseases have a bit of mystery around them which so you might not fully understand what they are. This is partially because autoimmune conditions have an unknown cause. Despite this though and thanks to a great deal of diligent study medical researchers have uncovered a good deal of intel on them. This helps your naturopathic doctor to put together a treatment plan that can help. There are currently no known cures for autoimmune diseases. There are however ways to make them easier to live with. This is how your naturopathic doctor can help. Let's talk more about autoimmune diseases. What they are where they come from and some information on the more common autoimmune conditions. What Is An Autoimmune Disease? An autoimmune disease is a disease that affects the immune system. Rather than fighting off invaders in form of viruses and illnesses an autoimmune condition causes your body to attack its own tissue. Its unknown what triggers this event. Autoimmune disease results in the immune system not being able to differentiate between foreign cells and host (your own bodys) cells. Often these immune responses are specifically-located. In other words one type of cell or body part is being mistaken for something dangerous. Because the cause is unknown treatments usually focus on trying to manage symptoms and triggers. What Causes Autoimmune Diseases? Although we dont know what actually causes an autoimmune disease we do know that some of them are hereditary. For instance lupus and multiple sclerosis run in families. Not everyone in the family will have the disease but you're more likely to develop this condition if your close relatives did. Another working theory is that autoimmune diseases are related to exposure to chemicals and solvents. Autoimmune diseases have been steadily increasing over the recent years. This suggests there is an environmental cause. Another course of study suggests that the rising diagnosis of autoimmune conditions may be related to our high-fat high-sugar highly-processed Western diet. The more scientists understand our gut microbiome the more we learn about how it influences our many other systems including our immune systems. Who's At Risk For Autoimmune Diseases? Studies have shown there are certain people more likely to get an autoimmune disease. For instance ethnic groups. Lupus is more prevalent among those of Hispanic and African descent. As well cis women deal with with autoimmune diseases twice as often as cis men. Finally if youre a woman who is prone to getting an autoimmune disease its more likely to manifest during childbearing years. How Many Autoimmune Diseases Are There? Because autoimmune diseases can be localized to a specific area of the body they are categorized as unique diseases. To-date there are at least one hundred different autoimmune diseases commonly accepted. Below weve explored a few of most common. 1. Rheumatoid Arthritis Arthritis is famously what causes sore stiff joints. However it's usually associated with old age. That's a different condition - osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand can affect people at any age. Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis focus on reducing the redness swelling and associated pain. 2. Multiple Sclerosis Multiple sclerosis attacks the protective coating around nerve cells (called the myelin sheath). When this sheath is damaged it slows the transmission of signals between your brain and spinal cord. The result includes symptoms of weakness numbness and difficulty with balance or walking. 3. Psoriasis Psoriasis is a skin-specific autoimmune disease. That means the immune system attacks cells in the epidermis. This creates red itchy patches with a scaly skin buildup resulting from the over-activity of the skin attempting to reproduce and heal. The skin is often raised and inflamed but it can range in severity from mild and painless to severe and in rare cases life-threatening. 4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes the inflammation of the lining of the intestinal wall. However IBD is an umbrella term. It refers to different types of inflammatory bowel disease that affect different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the more common conditions you may have heard of include: Ulcerative colitis - which primarily affects the colon and rectum Crohn's disease - which can attack any part of the GI tract Celiac disease - which primarily affects the small intestine 5. Graves' Disease Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. Your thyroid regulates the hormones related to your metabolism. When you have Graves disease your thyroid overproduces these hormones causing a condition called hyperthyroidism. This can cause a wide range of symptoms including: Anxiety Tachycardia Heat sensitivity Unexpected weight loss Menstrual fluctuations Chronic fatigue Heat intolerance Nervousness Contact Annex Naturopathic If youve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease naturopathic medicine can complement your medical treatment for it. If youre concerned you may have an autoimmune disease call Annex Naturopathic now to get a consultation. One of our doctors will be able to help you understand what's happening to your body. From there we'll explore the next steps and treatments targeted to your case. If youre curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us. Yours in Health Dr. Tanya Lee N.D Annex Naturopathic Clinic 572 Bloor St W #201 Toronto ON M6G 1K1 - Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck ND and Tanya Lee ND Learn additional info on health wellness naturopathy and medicine at: naturopathic doctors in Toronto