An autoimmune disorder is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. The body cannot distinguish the difference between self and a foreign invader, and the result is an immune attack that destroys normal tissue. An autoimmune disorder may result in destruction of one or more types of body tissue, abnormal growth of an organ and changes in organ function.
Tissues and organs most affected by an autoimmune disorder are red blood cells, blood vessels, connective tissues, endocrine gland such as thyroid or pancreas, muscles, joints and skin. A person may have more than one autoimmune disorder at the same time.
What causes the immune system to be unable to distinguish between healthy body tissues and antigens is unknown. In order to try to understand specific theories about the conditions under which autoimmune conditions develop, it is important to understand how the immune system works.
The immune system is divided into two parts, the innate and adaptive. The innate portion is the first line defense and is generally non-specific. This includes mechanical barriers like skin and mucous, chemical barriers like stomach acid, secretory barriers like enzymes, immunoglobulin SIgA and the inflammatory processes. This part of the immune system employs cells such as neutrophils, macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells which are non-antigen specific and have no “memory.” These barriers and cells often prevent pathogens from getting a foothold with the body. The other part of the immune system is the adaptive immune system. This part of the immune system “adapts” to invading organisms over time. The primary cells involved in the system are the T and B lymphocytes, which recognize invading organisms using T-cell receptors and immunoglobulin (antibody) proteins. The adaptive immune cells also have “memory” allowing a second invasion of the same or similar antigen to stimulate a quicker and more potent response. This is how vaccines work.
There are many different theories of what causes autoimmune disorders and many possible triggers.
reduction in glutathione and other detoxification nutrients
Damage to gastrointestinal mucosa
Heavy metal immune sensitization
Food allergies and sensitivities
Yeast and bacterial endotoxins
There are more than 80 autoimmune diagnoses, but the most common are:
|Dermatomyositis||Graves’ Disease||Hashimoto’s thyroiditis|
|Multiple sclerosis||Myasthenia gravis||Pernicious anemia|
|Reactive arthritis||Rheumatoid arthritis||Sjogren syndrome|
|Type I diabetes||Celiac disease||Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)|
Exams and Tests
Traditionally, all autoimmune disorders are evaluated by a thorough history and physical examination. Tests include antinuclear antibodies tests (ANA), autoantibody tests, CBC, C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). The goals of treatment of autoimmune disorders at Oaktree Wellness Center are to reduce symptoms, control the autoimmune process and help the body’s natural ability to fight disease. Through diet, supplementation, lifestyle modification, and intravenous therapies including vitamins, nutrition and chelation therapy, all aspects of conditions and triggers are addressed that can influence autoimmune disorders.