(310) 979-3434
Dr. Rashel, Integrative Medicine

Autoimmune Disease

In the past few years there have been studies suggesting that chronic inflammation lies at the root of chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and many other autoimmune disorders.   Inflammation is a particularly important issue for women, where certain hormonal transitions create inflammation in the body.  Inflammation is also increased in women in perimenopause and menopause.   The inflammation caused by hormonal imbalance could be the key reason why women suffer 75% of all autoimmune disease.  Synthetic hormones, oral estrogens and synthetic progestins prescribed to women in the form of birth control pills or drugs such as premarin or provera, prescribed for menopause particularly increase inflammation in the body.  Research now shows that oral contraceptive pills, containing both synthetic estrogens and a synthetic progestin, may interact with genetic predisposition to boost a woman’s risk of developing Lupus.  The study done in 2009, analyzed some 1.7 million women ages 18 to 45 and found a subgroup of women who may be more susceptible.  If you’re on the Pill and have a family or personal history of lupus, or other autoimmune disease consult an integrative physician for more information about possible health concerns.  Although the exact mechanism of how autoimmune disease arises may be unknown but the fire that triggers its start may very well be inflammation in the setting of other environmental factors and or genetic predisposition.

Estrogen is known to be important in the pathogenesis (“disease creation”) of Lupus, and possibly other autoimmune diseases although not exactly clear.  Estrogen (except in pregnancy) has been generally thought to push the immune system in the direction of pro-inflammatory pathways, in some autoimmune diseases, including lupus.  In terms of the relationship between the immune system and estrogen, healthy functioning requires just the right amount, not too much estrogen, and not too little.  It has also been proposed that the upset in autoimmune function may be partly driven by the ratios of particular types of estrogens in lupus patients.  Some estrogen metabolites are distinctly more problematic than others.  Most notably, higher levels of the pro-inflammatory estrogen metabolites known as 16-hydroxylated estrogens have been observed in lupus patients.   Prevalence of these more harmful intermediate forms of estrogen can result from impaired liver detoxification pathways resulting from genetic variations, toxic exposures, poor dietary choices, lifestyle stressors, and prescription drugs — including birth control pills and synthetic hormone replacement therapy.

If I could say just one thing to a woman newly diagnosed with autoimmune disease it is take a moment to set aside the fear about the diagnosis itself.  The ‘diagnosis’ itself is not much more than a label if attention is not given to what has caused it.  What is important are the underlying causes and factors triggering the immune imbalance, and in that respect, all autoimmune disease may be very similar as to their triggering factors and it is important to address those factors:  Concentrate on reducing inflammation, detoxification, gastrointestinal health, emotional health, and managing your symptoms one at a time. Through treating each smaller piece or factor, you can achieve the broader, more complete balance to your health and life again.

In other words, it might help to take time and step away from the word “diagnosis”, instead, take a few minutes and think about your symptoms as separate from a designated condition if you can.   Then we can figure out what we need to do to ease those symptoms by addressing and treating their cause, whether its detoxification, treating digestive imbalance, and above all quieting inflammation, addressing any of these factors, or all of them can help you on your journey to good health.   In the end, it doesn’t matter what the label of your ‘diagnosis’ is, it matters only that you feel better.

At Advance Health Integrative Medicine, Dr. Rashel helps treat autoimmune disorders by detoxification, identifying and addressing physical and emotional toxicity, restoring gastrointestinal balance, and decreasing inflammation.  We offer 24hr hormone and hormone metabolite testing that can identify your body’s ratios of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ estrogens and how your body is detoxification ‘bad’ estrogens that can lead to inflammation and disease.

To learn more about our diagnostics and treatments and how we can help you if you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease contact us at (310)979-3434 or fill out our New Patient Form.