Autoimmune Disease – Basic Science at the Core

Most likely you have been hearing a lot about autoimmune issues lately. Have you wondered what it is all about and if you could have a predisposition for an autoimmune disease? Could your immune system already be functioning inadequately?

If you have a number of health issues including joint pain, thyroid disease, Celiac and Crohn’s diseases, lupus, diabetes, MS, hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few, you most likely have an autoimmune disorder. Chances are good you started out with one medical problem and it has now expanded into several…and you feel lousy. The reason is your immune system is malfunctioning.

Over 50 million people in the United States alone have at least one autoimmune disease. And once it starts, it is highly probable that one disease will be followed by others that negatively impact different parts of your body. All of these health issues appear to be unrelated. Thus, many physicians will not connect the dots. You will likely see a different specialist for each illness and take a number of prescription medications to treat each issue. It is all because your immune system is out-of-balance.

Autoimmune disease is complex because if affects so many different parts of the body. The immune system forms antibodies against your own tissue and starts attacking parts of the body including the pancreas (think diabetes), the thyroid (hypothyroid disease), joints (rheumatoid arthritis), and the intestinal lining (Crohn’s, colitis, Celiac).

You will probably hear that each medical issue requires a different approach and that many of the diseases are difficult or impossible to cure. Usually the approach to treatment will be to manage and/or treat the symptoms with prescription medications. In other words, the cause of your diseases will not be addressed and thus you will never get better. Additionally, you may get worse or develop other diseases related to immune system malfunction.

So what can you do about it? What is the answer? You want to live a quality life and instead you are getting sicker, no matter what you try…an additional physician to treat yet another symptom, chiropractors, acupuncture, massage therapy, new pharmaceuticals, and on and on and on.

To actually heal, the root causes of your autoimmune diseases must be determined and treated. Otherwise the disease cycle spins out-of-control. Functional medicine’s approach to healing identifies the root causes of illnesses and then treats those causes. You have heard the phrase “cause and effect” multiple times. By treating the actual cause you will have a resulting, positive effect on your disease process. Basic science at the core!

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Dr Waldo

Ralph Waldo, M.D. is a functional and integrative doctor practicing in Carmel, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University with degrees in biology and psychology, following which he received an M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics.  In 1999 he obtained his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine.  

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