There is a major worldwide health crisis, and without even knowing, you, may be part of it.
I was shocked to hear that 50 million people in America, that’s 20% of the population, are suffering from an autoimmune disease, and many more are undiagnosed.
An estimated 75% of those diagnosed, are women, and this number is rising! (1)
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Many people don’t even know what an autoimmune disease is, and the frightening thing is, that there are many more people, who are walking around today, not just un-diagnosed but miss-diagnosed.
Are you one of them?
And it’s not just in the US, this is a worldwide problem.
In the UK
In the UK, there is no exact number of how many people suffer from an autoimmune disease, however, according to Diabetes UK there are around 400,000 people with the autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes, and this number is growing at a rate of 3% per annum.
Another autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, affects roughly 700,000 and at least 115,000 people in the UK live with Crohn’s disease. (2)
In Australia, 1 in 20, that’s 0.5 % of the population have it (3), and I’m one of them.
Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease myself, Hashimotos, has led me to researching more about it. Now I’m on a mission to educate and guide people about this disease and other autoimmune diseases, share my knowledge and specifically look at how you can help treat and manage the condition.
This blog post is part 1 of a 6-part series to help you understand Autoimmune Disease, what you can do to help prevent it, and provide you with the important information, that doctors won’t tell you, on how to manage it.
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To help you understand what an autoimmune disease is, you first need to understand the immune system. Come with me now, as I answer the common questions and explain, in simple terms.
The Immune System – Our First Line Of Defence.
We all have an immune system.
When it’s working well, it protects us from harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungus and parasites, which, if left un-detected, would wreak havoc on our bodies.
Our first line of defence from an invasion, are the Phagocytes, (white blood cells), which gobble up any invading harmful pathogens and destroys them.
These pathogens typically enter the body through the skin, the Gastrointestinal tract or the airway and can quickly find their way into our blood stream.
Once gobbled, each Phagocyte displays a small part of the pathogen on its surface, this is called an Antigen.
Our clever bodies also make billions of T-Cells, think of them like soldiers. They are each designed to seek out a specific antigen, which is detected on the Phagocyte surface.
When a single T-Cell finds and locks onto its target antigen, it clones itself, to create an army of T-Cells that can travel around the body to find more of the same antigen and destroy them.
Some of the T-Cells created will become Memory T-Cells. These cells remain behind in the blood after the initial attack. Next time the same pathogen invades the body, these memory T-Cells are ready to quickly build up the army again and create a fast attack. (4)
It is a fantastic, complex process.
Unfortunately, for some of us, this system doesn’t work properly and this can lead to what is known as an autoimmune disease.
The cause of autoimmune disease is a bit of a mystery, although some functional medicine doctors are looking closer at the gut as being ground zero for triggering many of the autoimmune diseases seen today (5). You will learn more on this later.
Good nutrition is critical, it can improve the immune system and could help towards reducing the systemic inflammation, preventing and managing the symptoms of autoimmune disease, you will understand this better by the end of the series.
Later, I will also explain how you can find out if you have one of these invisible diseases; are you one of the 50 million or are you one of the many undiagnosed?
You will want to take notes when I share with you, the best ways of protecting your immune system which can help prevent and manage some of the 100 autoimmune conditions that are out there.
Before I get to that, there are two things that you need to know:
What Is An Autoimmune Disease?
And What Are The Symptoms?
Part 2 in this 6-part series will answer these important questions.
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Education is important, there are millions of people who need to understand and learn about this growing disease. If you are a generous person then please share via social media.
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Ready for Part 2?
Here it is.
Thank you for reading and sharing. Please feel free to comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.
It is much appreciated.
You Are What You Eat, Choose Wisely.
Katherine Minett, a Blogger with Hashimoto Thyroiditis, is on a mission to educate and guide others on the importance that good nutrition has, in preventing and managing autoimmune diseases. Specifically, how to manage the symptoms of weight gain and fatigue that are commonly associated with these conditions.
Disclaimer: “Essential Nutrition Tips Blog” does not offer medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have medical concerns please consult your doctor. See Full Disclaimer.
Affiliate Disclaimer: This blog post and other blog posts on Essential Nutrition Tips Blog, may contain affiliate links to third party web sites. I may receive a small commission from sales on some products. However, the price to you remains the same. These affiliate links are a way of offsetting the costs of running my blog, Essential Nutrition Tips Blog.
American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, General AD Information, How Many Americans have autoimmune disease? Retrieved from https://www.aarda.org/knowledge-base/many-americans-autoimmune-disease/
British Society For Immunology, Policy Briefing, Autoimmunity (March 2016) Retrieved from https://www.immunology.org/sites/default/files/autoimmunity-briefing.pdf
Australian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy Autoimmune Diseases (2017). Retrieved from https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/autoimmunity/autoimmune-diseases?highlight=WyJhdXRvaW1tdW5lIiwiZGlzZWFzZXMiLCJhdXRvaW1tdW5lIGRpc2Vhc2VzIl0=
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD , How do the various T Cells function in the immune system? Retrieved from https://www.sharecare.com/health/immune-lymphatic-system-health/how-t-cells-function-immune
Axe, J. MD., (2016). Ground Zero for Leaky Gut. Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It. (pp 17-30) New York, NY: Harper Collins.