Autoimmune diseases can be some of the most difficult things to live with and manage. When a little girl named Isabel was diagnosed with a mixed-tissue connective disorder (an autoimmune disease), she was quickly placed on a variety of medications. Little Isabel’s disease affected almost every part of her body, including her blood vessels, her blood cells (white and red), liver, and muscles. She constantly dealt with swelling and inflammation. Isabel’s doctors placed her on steroids, acid blockers and a chemotherapy drug.
When her doctors wanted to then put her on a TNF alpha blocker to suppress her immune system, she and her family decided there had to be another way. She was taken to see Dr. Hyman, a physician who wanted to treat the underlying condition as opposed to treating the inflammation and other side effects with various drugs.
Dr. Hyman had Isabel change her diet; gluten, dairy, and sugar were almost completely avoided. In addition to eliminating these inflammatory agents from her diet, Isabel also incorporated a multivitamin, fish oil, primrose oil, and a probiotic to her diet. Isabel was soon symptom-free and able to enjoy life more than ever.
What was it about Dr. Hyman’s approach that seemed to work miracles for Isabel?
Dr. Hyman is an advocate of “functional medicine” in which physicians dig to the bottom of what’s causing an issue, and treat that underlying issue as simply and naturally as possible. Because autoimmune diseases are a result of an over-active immune system, Dr. Hyman believes it is important to first see what may be sending the immune system into overdrive in the first place. Yeast infections, undiagnosed Lyme disease, or even an undetected virus may be causing chaos in the body and sending your immune system out of whack.
The next step is to evaluate any possible allergies that could be causing inflammation and telling your immune system to react. Gluten and dairy are some of the most common allergies, but because many people react only mildly, they may have a difficult time recognizing the allergy. Heavy metal, such as mercury from vaccines, may also be in the body and messing with the immune system.
Last but certainly not least, if you suffer from an autoimmune disease and want to correct the issue, you must take care of your digestive health. A good probiotic will help regulate your gut and ensure the proper balance of bacteria in your digestive tract. This will substantially reduce inflammation throughout the body, and therefore reduce symptoms of your autoimmune disease.
To help your body completely heal, it is also important to exercise regularly. Some low-impact cardio, such as taking a leisurely walk or bike ride outside will do you some good. Self-reflective workouts will help you reach an internal level of calm while also taking care of your body.
Autoimmune diseases can be treated without drugs, and Isabel is living proof. If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or are experiencing some of Isabel’s symptoms, try making a similar lifestyle change and you’ll see improvement in no time.