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Nutrition, Health, Tips, Wellness, Therapy / 24 May 2019

Autoimmunity And Benefits Of Functional Medicine

Stethoscope and a Red Heart

Close Up of a Stethoscope on Black Background with a Red Heart

Autoimmunity is a series of immune responses of an organism against healthy tissues and cells. The immune system starts attacking the body itself. While autoimmunity is present in all individuals to a certain extent, it is typically harmless. However, it can result in a range of health issues which are collectively referred as autoimmune diseases.

These diseases arise if there’s progression to pathogenic autoimmunity from benign autoimmunity. Usually that progression gets determined through environmental triggers and genetic influences. There are numerous common autoimmune disease including Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Dermatomyositis (DM), Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Addison’s disease, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Diabetes mellitus type 1, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and more.

Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease

There are various early signs of autoimmune diseases, majority of them are similar, including:

  • Skin rashes
  • Hair loss
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Low-grade fever
  • Swelling and redness
  • Achy muscles
  • Fatigue

An individual disease might have different set of symptoms. For instance, type 1 diabetes can result in fatigue, weight loss, and extreme thirst. IBD can cause diarrhea, bloating, and belly pain.

With Rheumatoid Arthritis or psoriasis, the symptoms might appear and disappear. When you experience a symptom period, it is referred to as a flare-up, whereas when the symptoms disappear. It is referred as a remission.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is comparatively new means of examining health that might prove beneficial. It utilizes different model and approaches to manage and prevent chronic, complex illness. This medicine is more focused on providing treatment to the individual as a whole, instead of treating only the symptoms.

Functional medicine is more about the cause and organism, instead of the symptom and organ. The experts of functional medicine believe that there can be different and multiple causes of a pain which is why the treatments have to be personalized and different as per the causes.

A functional medicine doctor takes time to know their patients and discuss their health issues, symptoms they are experiencing, as well as their lifestyle, traumas, exercise patterns, diet, and other relevant details.

Once they have all the details, they collaborate to determine the primary causes of the disease. This process typically includes researching various factors that might influence the functions of the patient’s body, including:

  • Environmental factors like toxin exposure
  • Lifestyle choices like stress, activity, and diet
  • Genetic makeup

The main goal is to figure out the root cause of the disease. Functional medicine works like a map or a GPS system which is utilized by the doctors to navigate through the chronic disease landscape. Any disease might be triggered due to two or more imbalances which must be treated accordingly. For instance, an individual can suffering from obesity because of imbalances in genetics, gut flora, hormones, inflammation, exercise and diet, or environmental toxin exposure.

In the same way, an imbalance like inflammation can create a number of conditions. The goal of functional medicine is to examine these complexities and take measures to restore the balance in order to restore the health of the individual.

Benefits of Functional Medicine For Autoimmune Disease

The major distinction between treating a cause of symptom and treating the symptom is like trying to cure a tree by treating its branches instead of its roots.  At least one in 12 individuals suffers from autoimmune diseases, including 5 million men and 18 million women. The diseases include more than 80 different types of disorder with random and unspecific symptoms.

Therefore, functional medicine approach is rather significant when it comes to treating these disorders. For instant, one of the classic signs of a flare-up of autoimmune disease is inflammation. Conventional medicine often advise immune suppressing drugs that can indeed offer drastic relief to the patient, but might also:

  • Be a temporary brand-aid instead of an actual solution
  • Won’t treat the disorder’s root cause
  • Prepare the body for potential health issues

Functional medicine examines the way the body functions as a whole. The experts would focus on finding the balance in the immune system instead of simply suppressing it. There aren’t many options available for individuals suffering from autoimmune conditions in conventional medicine.

Functional medicine provides them with better options from a functional and nutritional standpoint that actually helps in curing the health issues instead of suppressing them for a certain period of time. This is one of the major benefits of functional medicine when it comes to autoimmune disease.

Functional Steps For Optimal Health

There are various functional steps that you can take in order to enhance your health and also to treat or prevent autoimmune or other diseases. There are some basic steps to consider:

  • Follow a Routine – people work on circadian rhythm which is why your body flourishes when you follow a routine. When you have a fixed time to sleep, wake up, eat, exercise, and perform other activities, your body becomes balanced. In this state, you tend to have enhanced energy and can lose weight faster.
  • Improve the Diet – it is recommended that you include foods in your diet that are dense in nutrients and high in antioxidants. This is easy to follow when you opt for local, fresh food which hasn’t been shipped across states or countries. Include foods like probiotic-rich fermented Spirulina, fermented dairy, or fermented vegetables in your daily diet as it will enhance the nutrients bioavailability that your body craves. You can also get nutritional counseling from an expert to help you create a healthy diet plan.
  • Get Regular Checkups – the best way to keep your health optimal is to get regular checkups and lab works. This can help in ensuring that your body is healthy or if there is any deficiency you need to fix, and also help in identifying any potential health issue so you can get immediate treatment. It is best to opt for family medicine to ensure the health and wellbeing of your entire family. Functional experts can examine your reports to and identify any red flags.

These small things can make a major impact on your overall health. They work as the best preventive measures against autoimmune diseases and other health issues. It is best to consult experienced medical professionals to attain optimal health.

NJ Spine and Wellness offers a range of health services to help you reach and maintain your health goals with the assistance of our expert functional medicine providers, Dr. Jared Bornstein and Dr. John Riggi.

Dr. Bornstein is a clinical nutritionist and chiropractic physician, who has a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and Masters of Nutrition degree from the University of Bridgeport and is also a board certified nutritional specialist (CNS).

Dr. John Riggi has a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine and is also board certified in Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine by the ACOFP. Before joining NJSW, he was a primary care physician for over 15 years.

Opt for a health consultation by booking an appointment by today to maintain your health and wellness.

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