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The Autoimmune disease silent epidemic! Why are so many of us developing autoimmune disease and can nutrition and lifestyle help?

woman thinking alone in the desert

Have you noticed lately that everyone seems to know someone with an autoimmune disease, or maybe you are living with an autoimmune disease or have more than one?

Autoimmune disease rates have risen steadily in the last few decades. As I write this I have now clocked up 3 autoimmune diseases, (that I know about ), they are Hashimoto's, vitiligo and rheumatoid arthritis- no one else in my family has an autoimmune disease including my late grandparents. The reality is that autoimmune diseases are so common now that the rates of incidence are more than cancer and cardiovascular disease combined!

Here's some autoimmune facts for you:

1.Having one autoimmune disease increases the chances of developing another one

2. Genetics are only partly to blame

3. There are over 100 different autoimmune diseases

4. Nearly 80% of those with autoimmune disease are female

5. The global cost of autoimmune disease is over 149 billion dollars

6. There is no dedicated medical speciality for the treatment and diagnosis of autoimmune disease, rheumatologists only deal with certain types of autoimmune diseases. Treatments for autoimmunity are based on symptom management only- there is no cure.

Potential triggers for autoimmune disease

Genetics are often only a part of the picture, autoimmune disease is heavily influenced by our environment, which includes whether we were born naturally or by c-section, breast or bottle fed, our diet, stress levels, adverse childhood experiences, toxin and chemical exposure, smoking, infections, medications-including antibiotics, whether we over or under exercise, gut health, (including the microbiome which is the balance of bacteria living in the gut), and being female- to name a few.

So why in our modern world where we have such advanced medical care are we getting so sick with autoimmune diseases?

One thing to consider is that there are 80'000 more chemicals in our environment than there were in our Grandparent's day- yes that's right 80'000 different chemicals!

It has also become normalised to have a diet that is full of ultra-processed foods- this food is nothing like the food we have evolved to eat and is the leading cause of obesity- nutrition and autoimmune disease matter!

Plastics are in our food chain and we put our food and drinks in plastics! Plastics such as BPA's (Bisphenol A's) are a problem for everyone, even more so for women, as they bind with oestrogen receptors and act as endocrine disruptors- oestrogen imbalances are a contributing factor to autoimmune disease.

Our chronic stress levels are through the roof with modern life, cost of living and managing work and family! One thing I have observed during my career as a nutritional therapist and with my own health is that stress can be the biggest driver of autoimmune disease activity and flare-ups.

So what can you do if you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease??

The medical approach is based solely on managing symptoms with pharmaceuticals. It is not around addressing nutrition and lifestyle to calm inflammation, managing stress, or supporting healthy detoxification and nourishing the immune system- I suggest taking ownership and responsibility for those areas yourself! This can be incredibly empowering! The rewards will be endless!

I'm a big proponent of the Paleo diet which is free from ultra-processed foods but rich in quality meat (including red meat like beef and lamb), fish, eggs and lots of veg, some fruit and nuts and seeds. In my online clinic, I support clients all over the UK, Europe and beyond by focusing on gut health, nutrition, sleep, stress management, appropriate supplements and the right type and amount of exercise.

By the way- I have 3 autoimmune diseases and I manage them solely by these means.

If you want to learn more about working 1-2-1 with me and would like to book a free 15-minute discovery call with me - click the link below.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, it's something that I am very passionate about.

Nicola x

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