Over 24 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds, but they all arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues present in it. The body actually attacks its own cells. Autoimmune diseases are often chronic, debilitating and life-threatening.
The most common autoimmune diseases are: hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, Lupus Erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes and psoriasis. There are also autoimmune diseases that affect the endocrine gland, heart, joints and muscles, nervous system and skin. More than eighty illnesses are either proven or suspected to be caused by autoimmunity. They are in the top ten causes of death among women in all age groups up to 65 years, where many other conditions may set in.
One theory is that many autoimmune diseases are triggered by the huge amounts of toxins in our environment. Of the over 80,000 chemicals that have been introduced into our society since 1900, only 550 have been tested for safety. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 2.5 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released annually by industrial facilities, including over six million pounds of mercury that enters the air we breathe. A government report1 issued in July 2005 tested for a range of chemicals in our bodies and found an average of 148 per person. They may have found more if they had extended the scope of their tests.
Unfortunately, conventional medicine tries to shut down the immune response with powerful medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, anti-cancer drugs and new drugs that block the effects of a powerful inflammatory molecule called TNF alpha. The problem is that these new drugs shut down the immune system so powerfully that they increase the risk of cancer or life-threatening infections. Many of them frequently cause serious side effects and are only partially effective.
What we need is a way to attack the root of the problem. One way is to eliminate gluten and other food allergens, purge heavy metals from the body and balance the immune system. Here’s a checklist for people suffering from autoimmune disease. Healthy people may be able to avoid the problem by taking the same steps: