Autoimmune diseases occur when cells of the body are unable to differentiate between the pathogenic cells as well as its own cells. As a result, the immune system kills its own cells.
There are more than 100 recognized autoimmunity is increasing in America.
As an holistic health coach you are likely to work with clients living with or are at risk of developing an autoimmune disease. Although your role as coach isn’t to treat or diagnose an autoimmune condition, you can help your clients by assisting clients in implementing healthy lifestyles that may help:
- Determine the factors that contribute to the risk of developing an autoimmune disorder
- Prevent autoimmune disease
- Manage autoimmune disease symptoms
This article will discuss the holistic and integrative factors which contribute to the development of autoimmune disease. In particular, we discuss the various ways in which factors, including genetic, social and environmental variables can increase the likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases.
What Is Autoimmunity?
In normal conditions the immune system is able to determine which body cells have been imported and what ones are its own. When the immune system misinterprets the cells in its host’s body as being foreign and dangersome, it could start attacking itself. This is the reason for autoimmunity that results in an autoimmune disorder.
In more biomedical, technical phrases, Johns Hopkins Medicine defines “autoimmunity (as being the existence of antigens (which are produced from B lymphocytes) and T lymphocytes that are directed against the normal elements of an individual (autoantigens). Autoantigens are also known as or self-antigens, and are typically composed in proteins (or proteins that are linked to nucleic acid).”
It is vital to recognize that the most popular debate about an autoimmune disorder is from an Western biomedical view. The majority of diagnostic, treatment, and management tools within the United States are based on this concept. But, there are a variety of traditional medical theories and methods that could help you understand and manage an autoimmune condition in a different manner. They include but aren’t restricted to:
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Kampo (traditional Japanese medicine)
- Traditional Korean medicine (TKM)
- Sasang Constitutional medicine (SCM)
- Traditional Aboriginal medicine
- Traditional medical practices in Africa
- Russian herbal medicine
When you speak to customers, you might want to inquire if there are traditional systems of medicine and theories that are more in line with the reality of their perspective and understanding of health.
A Holistic, Wellness Approach to Autoimmunity and Autoimmune Disease
On one side of the spectrum of health-related diseases is the optimal state of health, which leads to high-performance. The opposite side of the spectrum of health-related diseases is disability limitationthat leads in premature deaths.
The biomedical perspective that is the basis that it is the basis of the US medical system built on, is a treatment-oriented view. They believe that diseases are caused by the negative body effects of a medical condition that is diagnosable.
That is, when it comes to the biomedical field, the majority of interventions are performed on individuals in the spectrum that develop, become symptomatic and then, in the end, chronic and can lead to an increase in mortality.
The wellness approach to autoimmunity requires a more comprehensive multifactorial approach to comprehend the causes, manage, and prevent the effects of disease and health in two main ways.
The first is that the wellness view is a holistic approach to health, not only physical health. 7 dimensions to health comprise:
- Intellectual health
- Physical health
- Health and social
- Health of the emotional
- Spiritual health
- Workplace health
- Environmental health (in certain models it is replaced by the concept of cultural health, based on the fact that the environmental health dimension is incorporated into the health dimensions previously mentioned)
In the biomedical aspect of health the treatment and diagnosis approaches are primarily focused on the measurable physical signs of health as well as diseases.
The other element that differentiates the wellness approach to health from the biomedical approach is that aside from recognizing the prevention and management of symptoms and asymptomatic diseases or disability, as well as prevention of premature death the wellness approach takes into account the development and growth of individuals as a constant pursuit of energy and vitality, as well as optimal health as the key to optimal functioning and true well-being.
The wellness approach acknowledges that high functioning and feelings of fulfillment can only be achieved when all aspects of health are considered and taken care of. A lot of the same strategies are used whether someone is healthy or not.
The image below can help define the distinctions between biomedical and health approach.
6 Integrative and holistic factors that raise the chance of Autoimmune Disease
The Xenobiotics are chemical compounds that are not produced naturally by or contained in the human body. They are all that surrounds us, such as the food we consume and drink, the fluids we consume and breathe in the air as well as the home products we purchase, as well as the personal cleaning and care products we utilize.
Many xenobiotics do not pose a threat in the quantities we are exposed however as it is well-known that the development of autoimmune disease is connected with exposure to xenobiotics to a degree There has been a push to determine which xenobiotic ingredients are harmful and in what amounts does exposure to them pose an increased risk.
Researchers have identified a variety of xenobiotics which are associated with health problems and a higher risk of developing autoimmune chronic conditions when people are exposed to them at levels beyond what that our immune systems can eliminate and neutralize. These xenobiotics include:
- Heavy metals
- Mycotoxins and mold
It is not yet possible to determine how specific xenobiotics influence the risk of auto-immune conditions.
Stress and Lifestyle
Health-related factors, such as lifestyle and exposure to stressful environments can have direct influence on the chance of developing autoimmune disorders.
Some of the health habits which are linked to an increased chance of getting sick, including the following:
- Sleep deprivation
- Physical activity (sedentarism)
- How often and when the person is screened for diseases
- Excessive sun exposure
- Alcohol consumption
- A diet that doesn’t satisfy or exceed the nutrient requirements
Another crucial, but complex aspect that affects the chance of developing autoimmune disorders is the amount and length of stress that people experience in their lives.
Stress response precisely what it sounds like: it’s the way that your body responds to stressors that could be an imminent threat, deadline or uncertainty, or other things.
Cortisol often referred to the “stress hormone” keeps your body in a state of alert and revving up. If the threat you perceive is gone Cortisol levels decrease while the parasympathetic systems activates “the brake” to reduce the intensity of stress.
In light-to-moderate levels stress is an essential element of our lives. It allows us to adjust to changes, come up with solutions and remain flexible.
If a person is under constant stress, the body is not able to engage the brake, which is why cortisol levels stay in the high range.
Chronic stress levels can rise due to:
- Psychosocial issues, such as the individual’s personality and personality differences mood, absence of access or knowledge of resources to help reduce stress; and levels of stress-related reactivity.
- Sociobiological influences, for example, how society reacts to age, sex, race, and ethnicity, as well as the exposure to health risks as well as medical treatment. The presence of autoimmune diseases can also raise the stress levels.
- Lifestyle and health behaviors like those listed in the previous paragraphs (smoking or taking alcohol, drugs, etc.). Stress and lifestyle-related factors that can increase your the risk of developing autoimmune diseases are linked.
Chronic stress can cause a myriad of negative impacts on the mind as well as the body. If stress becomes chronic in the course of developing that is referred to as toxic stress since it could be detrimental and have a long-lasting impact on how a body performs.
Chronic stress and toxic stress as well as unhealthy lifestyle choices have broad-ranging impacts on the immune, neurological, and the endocrine systems. These triggers cause inflammation and increase oxidative stress, which can lead to a dysregulation of the immune system.
If someone lives an unhealthy lifestyle and is subject to chronic or toxic stress, autoimmune illnesses are likely to be a result. In actual fact, a huge amount of research has shown that stress from early childhood can greatly increase the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses.
People with chronic or autoimmune illnesses face a range of particular challenges that can adversely affect their health-related quality lives (HRQoL).
These issues aren’t only the result of a problem with symptoms but also because of many socio-economic issues. This is particularly relevant for part of groups that are historically excluded for example, those who:
- Brown or black
- Living in low-income or impoverished communities/households
- Living with disabilities
- A history of trauma
- Living with an illness of the mind
- Prisoners or previously incarcerated
- Refugees and immigrants
- Senior citizens
Humans are an individual species in the sense that we routinely treat individuals with specific race, gender and ethnicities in different ways in the sense that we construct complex structures and systems that make it a lot more difficult for people who are marginalized to have access to health-promoting conditions.
Conditions of living that affect well-being and health include:
- The physical environment Access to clean water, air and the soil and exposure to xenobiotics housing access and segregation
- The social context The social environment: discrimination and racism culture and violence
- Environment for work and economics Access to employment, earnings, and occupational hazards
- Service environment Access to education, health care and social services
Living conditions may not only influence the stress levels and exposure to toxic substances, but could also lead to risky behavior such as smoking, eating poorly and physical inactivity as well as involvement in violence as well as drinking and doing drugs alcohol, as well as risky sexual actions. As we have discussed in the previous section, these ailments and actions can result in an ongoing inflammation as well as oxidation which directly contributes to increased risks of developing autoimmune disease.
The immune system is there to keep our organs and cells protected from pathogens like viruses, bacteria and fungi that could cause harm to our bodies. When our system isn’t capable of successfully neutralizing this pathogen it may cause an infection.
Mild infections can be dealt with through the immune adaptive system. In certain instances the need for antibiotics is to boost your immune system to eliminate bacteria before they cause lasting damage.
But, chronic and untreated infections may lead to an imbalance in the immune system, inflammation throughout the body and tissue damage.
A few common microbes that when they cause inflammation within the body, are associated with an elevated risk developing an autoimmune and chronic diseases are:
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
- C. tetani
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae
- E. coli
- K. pneumoniae P. mirabilis
One way that researchers have discovered that infectious agents may cause autoimmunity is via a mechanism of action known as molecular mimicry. By using molecular mimicry, autoantigens become activated and are unable to distinguish between the cells of the body as well as the agents that cause infection. This is why the body destroys and attacks its own cells, leading to autoimmunity.
Some people have a genetic predisposition to develop autoimmune diseases. Genetic predisposition can be affected by the family-based occurrence of an autoimmune disorder (and the genetic susceptibility of particular genes) gender, gender, and the age.
The causal genes aren’t fully known, and many genes are interspersed. Genes are associated with:
- Genetic transcription elements
- Signaling by molecular and cellular cells
- Cytokine function
- Intercellular pattern recognition receptors
- Membrane molecules
A few of the genes that cause disease or genes that determine a person’s risk to develop certain autoimmune disorders These include:
- Lupus: STAT4, BLK, IRFS, MAPK1
- Multiple Sclerosis: HLA-DRA, IL2RA, PTGER4
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: PTPN2, RBPJ, BACH2
- Type 1 Diabetes: CCR4, IL10, CD226
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease: IL 1R2, TYK2, IFIHI
- Psoriasis: IL23r, TRAF31P, REL, IL12B
Furthermore, race, gender and ethnicity are all independent of risk factors that can cause autoimmunity. The chromosomes of a woman’s genitals, hormonal changes and systematic inequities play a significant part in the risk of developing autoimmunity.
It is crucial to remember that the fact that a person is more vulnerable to immune-mediated disease because of genetic predisposition does not mean they’re predisposed to suffer from the condition. Lifestyle factors, like stress and stress exposure, may hinder or trigger the autoimmune reaction. Research into the processes that trigger a gene express or not, is referred to as epigenetics.
Diet and nutrition throughout a lifetime
The intake of nutrients affects our immune system’s function, particularly T-cell function. White fat (fat tissues) and adipokines can prolong inflammation.
In addition, what we eat influences the intestinal microbiome and mucosal health. A lack of nutrition, consumption of phytonutrients, as well as the microbiome of our intestinal tracts are all at risk. They are directly affecting immunity.
There are a variety of ways that humans can effectively meet dietary and nutritional requirements. But, there is an abundance of studies that have demonstrated that certain dietary patterns can be dangerous. Certain harmful patterns in dietary habits include:
- High in trans fats
- A high sodium content
- Insufficient diversity of micronutrients
- Insufficient in antioxidants and phytochemicals consumption
- Fiber content is low
- Inadequate protein intake
- Sugar high
Furthermore, certain nutritional and dietary ingredients have been proven to have particular negative effects on our immune system, and increase the likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases.
The Bottom Line: Inflammation and Oxidative Stress & Immune Disruption
What do the integrative and holistic factors that impact the risk of developing autoimmune diseases are in the same way? Indirectly or directly, they trigger an oxidative stress, trigger chronic inflammation of the system, and eventually interfere with the immune system, leading it to attack the cells of its own.
If the body begins self-harming this is known as autoimmunity and it can result in the development of autoimmune illne