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  • Writer's pictureDr. Chris Phillips

Are Autoimmune Diseases Preventable?

Are autoimmune diseases preventable? What can trigger an autoimmune disease? Who is more prone to developing an autoimmune disease?

While there are no simple answers to these frequently asked questions, one fact is for certain … autoimmune diseases are complex. They have no known cure, and there is no surefire way to avoid developing an autoimmune disease.

Plus, autoimmune diseases can be extremely difficult to treat and manage. They tend to have a mind of their own and impact no two people in the exact same way. Even patients with the same diagnosis can experience vastly different symptoms.

So what do we know about autoimmune diseases? Let’s discuss autoimmune disease prevalence, prevention, and treatment.

Autoimmune Disease Prevalence

Autoimmune diseases have no boundaries. No gender, race, ethnicity, or even age is exempt from developing autoimmune diseases. But when it comes to autoimmune disease prevalence, experts have discovered some strong trends.

Gender - Statistics prove again and again that more women than men develop autoimmune diseases. But when a male does develop an autoimmune disease, their symptoms can be more severe and lead to long-term health complications.

Genetics - Research shows a person’s genetic makeup and family health history play a role in disease development. Unfortunately, your genes may increase your chances of getting an autoimmune disease.

General Health - Research indicates that your general health can either increase or decrease your odds of developing an autoimmune disease, and your overall well being can most definitely affect the severity of your symptoms and the frequency of your flare-ups.

Autoimmune Disease Prevention

The more you understand about what happens to your body when you develop an autoimmune disease, the better prepared you can be to offset the process. Knowledge is your first line of defense. You can’t work toward preventing and treating a condition that you don’t understand.

An autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system mistakes healthy tissue as harmful. In other words, your own immune system turns on you. This runaway immune system response leads to widespread inflammation, and consequently, that inflammatory process creates a wide range of symptoms.

Inflammation and autoimmune diseases are intricately interlinked, which is why autoimmune diseases are referred to as inflammatory diseases.

The more you do to keep your inflammation in check, the better. Having your body in a constant inflammatory state is extremely harmful.

This means that the approach to autoimmune disease prevention and treatment are similar. Oftentimes, the risk factors that contribute to your odds of developing an autoimmune disease are similar to the risk factors that contribute to disease advancement once you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

What are those risk factors and what can you do to combat those risk factors?

Once again, there is no exact method or set strategy that you can follow to 100% prevent an autoimmune disease from developing. Rather, the best approach to creating a healthy body comes as a result of consistent efforts and hard work.

Weight - Strive to remain within your target weight range for your height and build. Lose weight, if needed.

Lifestyle Choices - Cut back on your alcohol intake. If you smoke or use tobacco products, consider quitting.

Physical Activity - Exercise regularly.

Supplements - Check for vitamin deficiencies and take supplements to correct any deficiencies.

Medication - Make sure you are aware of the potential side effects of prescription medications and antibiotics you take.

Autoimmune Disease Treatment

And last but not least, visit with a rheumatologist if you have concerns about your rheumatic health. If you think you have an autoimmune disease, do not delay seeking treatment.

At Paducah Rheumatology, we only create personalized treatment plans. You will not receive generalized care. Instead, we get to know each one of our patients in order to provide individualized care consistent with their specific healthcare needs.

Your treatment plan will be designed just for you!

Send in your physician’s referral and give us a call at 270-408-6100 to set up an appointment.

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