Do you struggle to control your thyroid dysfunction with endless medication prescriptions but seeing no improvement? If so, you may not realize that you are actually suffering from an autoimmune disease. Graves' disease or Hasimotos are autoimmune disorders that specifically affect the thyroid and when unaddressed, do some serious long-term damage. 

Unfortunately, the traditional medical model does not offer many options outside of a lifetime of medication to manage autoimmune disease. But there IS a better way.

If you're struggling with thyroid problems, you may be suffering from an autoimmune disease like Graves' disease. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in the body, leading to a range of symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, and muscle weakness. Traditional medical treatment for autoimmune disorders typically involves long-term medication use to manage symptoms, but this approach does not address the root cause of the disease.

Fortunately, functional medicine offers an alternative approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the underlying factors that trigger autoimmune disorders. By targeting the root cause, functional medicine practitioners can help patients not only manage but even reverse autoimmune disorders.

Where do autoimmune disorders come from?

With over 80 known autoimmune disorders, it is extremely frustrating when your body doesn’t behave the way it should. They occur when the immune system is triggered to attack healthy cells and tissues in the body (instead of bacteria, viruses, or rogue cells like it should be normally doing). The exact cause of this immune response is not entirely clear, but researchers have identified several factors that can contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders.

A common trigger for autoimmune disorders (especially in women) is hormonal imbalance. Women are particularly susceptible to autoimmune disorders due to fluctuations in hormones throughout their lifetime. Normal hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause, and menstruation can all trigger autoimmune responses. Additionally, chronic stress and poor sleep can also disrupt hormonal balance and increase the risk of autoimmune disorders.

Another factor that can contribute to autoimmune disorders is a condition called "leaky gut." Leaky gut occurs when the intestinal lining becomes compromised, allowing foreign substances to enter the bloodstream. This triggers an immune response, which can ultimately lead to autoimmune disorders. Certain medications and food sensitivities, particularly to dairy and gluten, can also contribute to leaky gut.

A final known common cause of autoimmune disorders is genetic predisposition. This means that some people may be more likely to develop an autoimmune disorder due to certain inherited genes. However, genetics alone are not enough to cause an autoimmune disorder; there must be some kind of trigger to initiate the immune response.

Can You Prevent or Reverse Autoimmune Disorders?

Unfortunately, the current traditional medical system only has pharmaceuticals and steroids to silence (not treat or reverse) the symptoms of autoimmune disorders. While there is no cure for autoimmune disorders, functional medicine can help you prevent and even reverse their effects by addressing the underlying triggers. 

Want to protect your hormonal health and prevent leaky gut? Here are our top lifestyle tips to keep in mind:

Reduce Stress: Chronic stress can cause hormonal imbalances, disrupt sleep patterns, and weaken the immune system. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

Get Enough Sleep: Aim for at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. This will help your body repair and regenerate cells, maintain hormonal balance, and strengthen your immune system.

Eliminate Trigger Foods: If you have food sensitivities or allergies, avoid the foods that trigger an immune response. Common culprits include dairy, gluten, soy, and processed foods.

Support Gut Health: Taking probiotics and eating fermented foods can help improve gut health and reduce the risk of leaky gut.

Optimize Hormonal Balance: Work with a functional medicine practitioner to optimize your hormonal balance through diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes.

Autoimmune disorders can be debilitating, but they don't have to be a life sentence. By addressing the underlying triggers through functional medicine, you can manage your symptoms and even reverse the effects of autoimmune disorders. 

Incorporate the lifestyle changes outlined above to protect your hormonal health and prevent leaky gut, and work with a functional medicine practitioner to find the root cause of your autoimmune disorder.

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