Autoimmunity occurs when the immune system attacks healthy tissue. These diseases are quickly becoming a major global health problem. The top 10 that are most common in the United States are:
- Hashimoto's Disease (Hypothyroidism)
- Graves' Disease (Hyperthyroidism)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (Joints)
- Lupus (Multiple tissues)
- Sjogren's Syndrome (Eyes, Skin, and Mouth)
- Celiac Disease (Gut)
- Psoriasis (Skin and Joints)
- Multiple Sclerosis (Brain Cells)
- Antiphospholipid Syndrome (Clotting)
- Type 1 Diabetes (Pancreas)
Conventional diagnosis of autoimmune diseases is commonly done through a blood test that looks for antibodies against healthy cells. After these antibodies are found, conventional medicine recommends taking immune suppressive drugs and / or hormone replacement therapy for life – with risks that greatly outweigh the benefits. Functional medicine (advanced natural medicine) has powerful and natural tools that dramatically improve the lives of those with autoimmune diseases without these risks.
The reason why conventional medicine has failed with autoimmunity is because their model is not designed to look for the individual cause (or promoters) of the immune dysfunction. Two different people with Hashimoto's hypothyroidism will have very different immune dysfunctions therefore will need different protocols. The key is to get a clear picture of the individual's unique immune system can only be achieved through functional laboratory testing.
The Three Secret Tests
TH1 / TH2 Cytokine Test – Your white blood cells communicates with each other through proteins called cytokines. You immune system consistants of mainly two systems: The first attackers (Th1 cells) and antibodies (Th2 cells). In a properly functioning immune system, the Th1 and Th2 cells should be in balance like a see-saw. When one of these systems becomes more powerful than the other, and autoimmunity can be triggered. The goal is to balance this system. Since many therapies used in natural medicine can influence this see-saw, it is critical to know which side is dominant in order to promote balance.
CD4 / CD8 Ratio (Immune System Analysis) – We have cells in our immune system called "helper cells" that help our white blood cells attack foreign innovators. Other cells help turn off the immune attack ("suppressor cells") when the fight is over. This important test allows you and your doctor to know if a foreign innovator (bacteria, virus, food, environmental toxins, and / or heavy metals) are influencing the autoimmune attack or if the immune system is dysfunctional due to other causes like chronic stress or nutritional insufficiencies.
Vitamin D Test – Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, it's a hormone. A hormone that plays an extremely important role in the modulation, or balancing, of the immune system. Not only do most people suffering with autoimmune diseases have low levels of vitamin D but they also have genetic changes that keeps vitamin D from being used in the body. This means they many need to take very high doses of vitamin D in order to function properly. Since vitamin D affected blood calcium levels it is necessary to have you levels rechecked every 3 weeks until optimal levels are achieved.
"Good Treatment Starts with Great Testing"
Many people in America delay getting lab tests because they are either uninsured, underinsured, or do not want their insurance company to permanently label them when a disease. Those who are insured commonly get denied useful labs because the specialist they are working with are only allowed to order tests that your insurance company allows them to run. It needs to be known that the public can affordability order lab tests online themselves without a doctor. We highly recommend that you do take the results of the tests to your doctor.
The takeaway from this article is that you have a say in your health. Do not be constrained by the limitations of our current healthcare system. You have more control than you believe.