Q & A Library
Attacking Autoimmune Diseases?
Can you offer a rundown on common autoimmune disorders and what supplements/wellness therapies may help?
Answer (Published 10/20/2005)
Altogether there are about 80 recognized autoimmune diseases, including
Some other diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis, may have autoimmune components. All of these diseases develop when the immune system mistakes the body’s own tissues as a threat to health and begins producing antibodies to attack them. Of the 50 million Americans who have autoimmune diseases, 75 percent are women. What distinguishes one disease from another is the target – the thyroid, in the case of Graves’ disease, the pancreas in the case of juvenile diabetes, and multiple organs in lupus. You can get information on 60 specific autoimmune diseases from the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association at (www.aarda.org).
Autoimmune diseases tend to flare up and subside in response to emotional ups and downs, so I commonly recommend experimenting with some type of mind/body treatment – hypnosis, psychotherapy and guided imagery therapy. Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine are also worth exploring. The following measures are worth trying for anyone with an autoimmune disorder:
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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