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Over the years, autoimmune diseases have been on the rise with an estimated 23.5 million Americans currently affected according to the National Institutes of Health. Much is unknown about autoimmune diseases making them difficult to identify and treat. We do know that “autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system attacks a person’s own cells and tissues,” says Daniela Cihakova, MD, PhD, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Cihakova also says about 80 percent of people with autoimmune conditions are women.

Autoimmune disease symptoms range from chronic fatigue to rashes. There is no understanding of their root causes. An AARDA survey found it took autoimmune patients up to 4.6 years and 5 doctors to get a diagnosis. Many people are told that the pain, discomfort and fatigue is “all in their head” making treatment and relief more difficult to find. Doctors are now also finding that many autoimmune diseases are related, but the varying specialties dealing with each, such as gastroenterology, dermatology and endocrinology, haven’t been sharing this information.

If you are experiencing undiagnosed and untreated symptoms often related to autoimmune disease, know that you are not alone. Talk to your doctor and get the appropriate tests done to rule out possibilities. Ask questions. Your doctor is not in your body so when he or she makes recommendations that don’t feel right or raise eyebrows, ask why. Explain your symptoms in as clear detail as possible.

Consider working with a holistic practitioner who is experienced in autoimmune diseases. Holistic care looks at the patient as a whole, considering all bodily functions, environmental factors, stress, sleep, medical history, and past traumas. You might also consider changing your diet to eliminate possible food sensitivities that may make your condition worse. Avoiding gluten, dairy, processed and packaged foods, sugar and alcohol may ease your symptoms. Get quality sleep, and minimize stress as much as possible. Starting a journaling or meditation practice might make the journey to healing more peaceful and palatable.

If you have questions or would like guidance on treating and relieving your condition, our practitioners can help. Call us to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online at

Be well and happy.
Calliope Tsoukalas Nutrition Counselor/Health & Fitness Writer

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