You know my story. I learned the hard way that our mainstream understanding of “disease” is flawed.
Western practitioners treat the body as individual compartments or separate systems. If you’re having heart problems, you see a cardiologist. If you’re experiencing skin issues, you see a dermatologist. If you have digestive issues, you go where? To see a gastroenterologist, duh!
Each specialist listens to the symptoms and treats them with pharmaceuticals or surgery… usually after some ridiculously expensive “testing.” Rarely, if ever, will they connect the skin issues you have to other breakdowns occurring in your body. A bad diet for example.
This way of thinking about our body usually leads to systemic disease somewhere down the road… as our body is an entirely interconnected system. Nothing separated. If we don’t take care of the “source” of the problem and merely bandaid it with meds… well it’s no surprise that our entire body will slowly break down until it can’t function properly. This is usually the “disease” point of no return.
We’ve given many names to the different types of disease that we’re all familiar with: heart disease, cancer, diabetes… But there is entire category of disease that’s being completely left out of the conversation. Yet it affects 20% of the population…
Most of the people who reach out to me who are having some sort of health issue have been diagnosed as having *blank.* What they are not told is that that *blank* is very often an autoimmune disease.
I’m noticing a surge in autoimmune, yet few people are talking about it! So I figured I’d try to get to the bottom of it by going to a leading expert.
In my interview, I ask nutrition and autoimmune expert Dr. Sarah Ballantyne all about autoimmune – What the hell is it? Which illnesses fit under it? Where does it come from? Can it be reversed?
If you or someone you know isn’t feeling optimally healthy and just can’t put a finger on why, you absolutely won’t want to miss this topic.
In summary, here are 3 truths I took out of my interview with Sarah…
1. Autoimmune is BROAD
We’re so used to labeling diseases. We’d all like to be able to go to your doctor, ask what we “have” based on our symptoms, and treat them. Unfortunately, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. In reality, there are “umbrellas” that encompass so many different illnesses. And the biggest umbrella of them all is autoimmune.
According to Sarah, autoimmune is a broad group of about 140 different diseases including arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
The issue is that doctors don’t tell people that these are autoimmune diseases. They’re not viewed as fitting under a larger umbrella. What all of these have in common is that they represent an issue with the immune system – the system that keeps us healthy. And so we need to stop merely treating symptoms and instead figure out why our immune system is failing in the first place.
2. Autoimmune is COMMON
Autoimmune isn’t a word that you hear very often. But I’m sure that you hear the other diseases under the autoimmune umbrella all the time, right? Arthritis. Psoriasis. MS. It’s important to understand that this affects a massive percentage of the population.
Autoimmune disease in on the rise. It’s now estimated that in the United States, about 1 out of 5 to 1 out of 6 people have it. That’s about 50 to 60 million Americans alone. When you compare those numbers to the diseases that people do talk about all the time, it’s way more prevalent. In fact, it’s double the amount of people with cardiovascular problems. And it’s quadruple the amount of people with cancer.
It might be easy to write off autoimmune since it’s not necessarily the most popular term out there. And again, doctors don’t really diagnose it very often. Due to its prevalence, however, it can’t be ignored. In fact, it’s all the more reason to do some investigating and see if your symptoms line up.
3. Autoimmune is IGNORED
Unlike heart problems or cancer, symptoms of autoimmune are quieter. And for that reason, tons of people live their lives with it without even knowing. And they just accept the fact that they don’t feel great most of the time.
Common symptoms that cross over most forms of autoimmune disease are things like fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, skin issues… things that so many of us dismiss or brush off. People just blame it on aging.
It’s easy to chalk it down to: “Oh, I’m just getting older,” or “Ah, I must have just not gotten enough sleep.”
Autoimmune a huge problem with very little public awareness… and very few resources where people can actually get good information on it. Fortunately, it’s highly treatable. There’s now a significant amount of scientific literature out there indicating that there’s most likely just one cause for all autoimmune diseases… nutritional deficiencies.
It all comes down to what we’re eating.
Sarah’s brand, The Paleo Mom, is devoted to educating the world on nutrition, autoimmune, and overall health. You can learn more through her books, The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook, as well as her podcast, The Paleo View.
And again, here are the links to both parts of my podcast interview with Sarah…