Two years after Emily complained of weight gain, depression and fatigue, she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s. Autoimmune illnesses are often difficult to diagnose as symptoms can be quite diverse.
If we have a healthy immune system, we are protected from invading microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi by producing antibodies or white blood cells to kill these ‘invaders’ and dispatch them. A healthy, functioning immune system never turns against its host – us!
However, in some people, like Emily, their immune system becomes sensitized to cells from their own body and this can lead to an auto-immune disease. Instead of protecting the body from invading microorganisms, the immune system turns on the body’s own healthy cells.
This may involve the immune system attacking joints, the skin, the pancreas or a combination of these or some other part of our bodies, depending on the kind of auto-immune disease we have.
TYPES OF AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
There are over 100 autoimmune diseases including Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus erythematosus (lupus), multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, psoriatic arthritis, Addison’s, Grave’s, irritable bowel disease (IBS), ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue (ME or CFS), Sjogren’s, celiac and Hashimoto’s and they are believed to affect around 5% of Australians.
Given the number of people suffering with these challenging diseases is increasing every year, people are looking for ways to support the treatment they might already be on.
Regardless of the kind of auto-immune disease you have, you’ve probably found it debilitating, possibly painful and it has probably severely impinged on your activities and your quality of life.
Many factors contribute to a positive healing outcome for someone who has an auto-immune disease. Addressing the underlying inflammatory processes behind the symptoms can have a profound and positive impact on your physical health, as can improving your ability to deal effectively with stress.
- Addressing the physical as well as the emotional distress and frustration that inevitably accompany a chronic illness.
- Improving nutrition. Keeping inflammation down is key. Removing toxic and inflammatory foods from your diet and adding in nourishing foods that support your health can reduce your inflammation.
- Finding the right exercise level for you. Exercise is therapeutic in most cases when done gently and gradually, but too strenuous exercise can trigger autoimmune flare-ups.
- Improving sleep level and quality. It’s a difficult cycle to break – sleep loss impacts the immune response, and the immune system, in turn, alters sleep patterns.
- Helping you to manage the emotional rollercoaster of exhaustion, frustration, anger and isolation.
CREATING A HEALING ENVIRONMENT
Quest for Life’s holistic recovery-oriented programs have the potential to change people’s lives in profoundly positive ways. Long-term research on the impact of Quest programs shows over 90% of participants improve their quality of life and feel more in control of and able to make positive changes to their life.
At Quest we recognise that many people with autoimmune diseases also have chemical sensitivities. No chemicals are used in the grounds or buildings at Quest to ensure a safe and healthy environment for people with life-threatening or chronic illnesses.