Health, both mental and physical, relies on a myriad of interconnected processes. When one of these systems goes awry, it can trigger an avalanche that eventually knocks all other systems offline. The immune system protects us against millions of pathogens that might invade our bodies daily. It also works to repair injuries and fight off various cancerous cells.
Autoimmune diseases occur when a person’s immune system turns on itself, attacking healthy cells and tissues. The most common causes include environmental exposures, infection, obesity, genetics, and the overuse of certain medications. The most common diseases are Lupus, Type 1 diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Celiac disease. Although autoimmune diseases can be devastating and debilitating, medical advances have made it much easier to treat them. Researchers have identified the root causes of many of these ailments and discovered the most effective ways to treat them. Here we will discuss some of the most effective treatment options.
1. Alternative Treatments
Although there are many convenient options for treating autoimmune diseases, finding the right combination of treatments can be incredibly difficult. Many symptoms overlap, which makes achieving results difficult. In addition, the side effects of a single conventional treatment can aggravate other conditions. Alternative therapies may be more effective in dealing with a number of these overlapping symptoms. These treatments focus on addressing the underlying cause of an autoimmune disorder and not just treating one symptom. The best alternative treatments for autoimmune diseases concentrate on eliminating the root causes. They include regenerative cell therapies, nutraceuticals, supplementation, and cell therapies targeting the underlying hormonal imbalance.
2. Nutritional Supplements
The use of certain nutritional supplements can help to reduce the body’s immune response. Some dietary supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, have anti-inflammatory effects and promote a more balanced immune response. Supplements like N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can also reduce inflammation and swelling. These supplements can be an effective complementary treatment to other conventional treatments. Omega-3s are especially useful because they don’t interfere with a person’s treatment regimen.
3. Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies are a more natural approach to treating autoimmune diseases. Herbs such as artemisinin, black cohosh, echinacea, Ginko Biloba, and ginseng have all been shown to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. These herbs may help to treat several symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases. However, it is best to consult a medical professional before taking herbs for medicinal purposes. A nutritional therapist or herbalist can recommend the right herbs for each person. They can also help to create a custom formula to target an individual’s medical conditions. Look for a targeted blend of herbs that reduces inflammation and decreases the body’s immune response.
Exercise is extremely important in maintaining good health, including immune function. The body’s immune system requires energy to produce new cells and fight off infections and toxins. Physical therapists can offer exercises targeting the muscles to help prevent symptoms such as muscle aches, tension, and joint pain linked with autoimmune diseases. Aerobic exercise can also help regulate the body’s inner temperature, reducing stress and inflammatory chemicals. Start slowly when first beginning a weekly exercise routine. The best type of exercise to do is one that you enjoy, such as swimming, walking, biking, hiking, gardening, yoga, pilates, or working out at a gym.
5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy that helps patients change their thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, and emotions to improve their symptoms. It focuses on challenging negative thought patterns that may trigger the onset of an autoimmune disease. The treatment begins with the patient recognizing their negative thinking patterns and using different techniques to change them. CBT has been shown to reduce stress, which can help to protect against the onset of an autoimmune disease.
Many available medications are effective at treating autoimmune diseases. These include Adalimumab, Etanercept, Ocrelizumab, Rituximab, Tocilizumab, and Abatacept. The drugs block specific pathways in the immune system, reducing the body’s response to foreign invaders. These medications are especially useful when a person is experiencing many symptoms that are difficult to treat individually. However, they have side effects that must be considered before beginning a treatment plan. The choice of which medication to use depends on a person’s symptoms and how severe their disease is. Your doctor will carefully assess your symptoms and choose the best treatment option.
There is no clear cure for autoimmune diseases yet, but the prognosis can be greatly improved with early treatment. Learning about your condition and the treatment options will help you decide the best approach for your specific situation.