Integrative Approaches To Autoimmunity
If you have been diagnosed with an Autoimmune Disease; you likely are being offered a disease modifying rheumatologic drug that is suppressing the immune system in its attack against your own body tissue. This important strategy often leads to the ability to preserve/save organs from further damage and halt disease progression.
Yet it is far from comprehensive. If we are ever to to address the root cause of autoimmune disease we need to continue to find what caused, drives it , and sustains it. Sometimes that is not always possible due to limitations of our understanding, unavailability of testing, and the expense of such a pursuit.
Regardless, a comprehensive approach to Integrative Rheumatology looks like:
1. Background Understanding: A thorough review of your western medicine care and progress to date so the practitioner is fully informed about the status of the autoimmune condition and the management thus far.
2. Acute care: making sure that the current symptoms are tolerable and managed acutely such as joint pain, sleep disruption, muscle pain, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, itching, dry eyes, rashes, depression, fatigue, malaise, and anxiety.
3. Lifestyle and Diet : Development of an immune tolerance lifestyle including an immune tolerant nutrition plan, hormone management, healthy sleep plan, exercise plan, vagal tone management, and nutrigenomic interventions.
4. Root cause testing and strategies looking multiple factors such as gut infections, biochemical deficiencies, viral infections, heavy metal toxicities, mold toxicity, chemical burden, vector borne illness, food allergy/sensitivity and trauma amongst others. An astute practitioner will know which of these tests might apply to you based on history and exam and forms such as the metabolic screening questionnaire. Identifying and eliminating a root cause can be a tremendous change.
5. Immune balancing: A natural supplement targeting immune balance. Biologic medicines strategies often have holes in their approaches that can be addressed by natural supplements such as additional inflammation support, intestinal permeability support, additional immune balancing measures, additional tissue repair support, vagal tone, and infection prevention.
6. Communication with Rheumatologist. It is important that the integrative provider communicates with your Rheumatologist on matters related to care so both parties remain informed.
It is my experience that a more comprehensive approach to Rheumatology is needed for better outcomes. Please send me any questions you have below.