Experiencing an autoimmune disorder can be frustrating to say the least. One often wonders why, in the greater context of human survival, our own body would initiate an attack on itself. Not only do we have to contend with everything outside of us that could potentially cause harm, we also must contend with our body’s immune system turning on us and creating a state of chronic immune stimulation and inflammation.

Why does this happen? There are numerous factors that can contribute to the development of an autoimmune condition – genetics, environment, diet and stress. At some point, all these potential contributing factors can come together at the same time and trigger the expression of an autoimmune condition.

Some autoimmune conditions can be extremely debilitating and life-threatening while others may cause only mild to moderate symptoms. One of the main goals in addressing autoimmune conditions through an Integrative and Functional Medicine approach is to remove the potential triggers. We cannot change our genetics, however, we can modify the environment within our bodies that allowed for the autoimmune condition to develop.

Assessing for infections, yeast, allergies, mycotoxins, heavy metals, chemical toxins and food sensitivities is often a first step in evaluating the triggers of an autoimmune condition. Evaluating diet, lifestyle and stress levels followed by the introduction of healthier choices and patterns can often lead to great improvement and sometimes elimination of an autoimmune disorder.