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Jan. 25, 2024

E09 | 5 Autoimmune Myths Busted: What You Really Need to Know

E09 | 5 Autoimmune Myths Busted: What You Really Need to Know

What if everything you thought you knew about autoimmune diseases was wrong?

You may feel hopeless and stuck in your healing journey, believing there are no solutions. 

But myths about autoimmune diseases cause needless suffering when better health is possible. And the saddest part is that it creates so much pain and suffering that could have been avoided if only people knew what I am about to share with you

BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU'LL DISCOVER:

  • Why autoimmune diseases can be reversed in many cases
  • How your immune system gets confused and starts attacking your body's own tissues
  • Whether immunosuppressive drugs are good or bad
  • If all autoimmune diseases need specialized treatment
  • The root causes of autoimmunity that you can address by prioritising these areas in your life

Start taking control of your health journey today by debunking these myths!


I've created an Autoimmune Symptom Relief Guide to help you weather storms with more ease and self-compassion.

It is a non medical guide that contains top tips for managing autoimmune flares and finding daily relief without the help of medications!

Learn how to manage episodes on YOUR terms - through self-care rituals, adaptogenic herbs, lifestyle tweaks and more.

So if you're ready to weather autoimmune storms with more ease and self-compassion, click the link below to sign up for the guide!

CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE GUIDE



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A must listen for anyone dealing with such chronic illnesses or anyone looking at improving their overall health and wellness” <– If that sounds like you,

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@aninditarungta | nourish heal connect | Embrace Your Healing Journey

Chapters

02:18 - Getting stuck in a "disease merry-go-round"

03:45 - The unique "BODY WISE HEALING" framework that I use in my coaching programme

04:13 - The most important thing you need to realise about any chronic condition

06:25 - Symptoms are NOT the first manifestation of a problem

07:54 - Myth #1

08:46 - Myth #2

10:12 - Myth #3

11:58 - Myth #4

13:25 - Myth #5

15:55 - Why your body is neither broken nor dumb

17:14 - Laying a strong foundation for healing

Transcript

 In today's episode, I'm going to share with you five autoimmune disease related myths that hold many people back from addressing the root causes of their chronic disease condition. And the saddest part is that it creates so much of pain and suffering that could have been avoided if only they knew what I'm about to share with you. That's all coming up next, right here on Embrace Your Healing Journey. 

Welcome to Embrace Your Healing Journey, a podcast for women with autoimmune and other chronic conditions to help them navigate the illness without fear of isolation and uncertainty, and find relief from their symptoms. Your body is your guide and ally. Inhale. If you're ready to embrace this journey with compassion and awareness, then the show is for you. Tune in weekly as I, a Functional medicine certified health coach, delivered tips and insights by demystifying the healing process, guiding you towards the relief you deserve so that you can feel healthy and happy once more. 

I was talking to a woman at a Diwali party a few years ago. She, uh, is a close friend of a dear friend of mine, and she had heard about me and the kind of work that I do with women with autoimmune conditions. She had been really struggling with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, a lot of pain, and many, um, different health issues for many years. And she believed that she had already tried all that she could do in terms of medicines, treatments and even alternative modalities, and there was nothing left for her to do. And I also got the feeling when I spoke to her that because she had not really heard of anyone else with her diagnoses get better, she didn't really think that she had, um, you know, she didn't have much hope, basically. And she, um, you know, it came out in her body language and in the words that she used in the conversation that she felt her body was bleak and she had just developed this disease out of the blue. And she was tired.  I mean, if you have been dealing with a chronic illness for a long time, of course you will be tired of dealing with that. But unfortunately, this is one of the most prevalent myths around autoimmunity that keep people like her stuck for years, if not their entire life, feeling lost, confused, and without hope. And that makes me really mad because there's so much that can be done right. 

And these people, actually, they remain stuck. And they remain stuck in what I call a disease Merry-Go-Round, going round and round in circles. So you may be worrying, or you may be worried that you will be a burden and feel, and you feel bad that you've not been able to do all that you want for your family for more than three years now. Or you may have, you know, you may have no strength to go for walks anymore or even eat healthy. Or maybe you don't even have the energy to wash your hair at times, and you may feel hopeless when even the doctors and your family don't really understand what you're going through. 

 And the biggest reason that many people remain stuck, right like this mean people like you remain stuck in what I call is a disease merry go round. It's because they believe that tests and diagnosis will give them all the answers that they need to get better, and so they keep waiting for those answers. And till they get those answers, they keep waiting because they think that there's nothing much they can do and they keep getting more and more sick as the disease continues to progress unchecked, causing more and more damage. But this is actually the opposite of what you should be doing. Right? And I want to talk about the myths that might be holding you back from doing this. A

nd in fact, in my own coaching program, it's a six month coaching program for women with chronic conditions such as autoimmune disease. I take my clients through a simple model. It's a simple model that is a part of the three pillar framework, body wise healing framework. And in this model, I simplify the process of health creation so that my clients can take small, actionable steps, whether they're dealing with 20 symptoms or 200. This is where they start. And I've talked about this in episode four, and I have shared the link below so you can listen to it.

 So the most important thing that you need to realize right at the onset about any chronic condition is that they do not develop overnight. Instead, chronic conditions or diseases develop over long periods of time and stem from a variety of causes, each expressed in its own set of symptoms. In the case of autoimmune conditions, in particular, the health deterioration can be measured in terms of the intensity of the level of antibodies, how much antibodies are being formed produced by our immune system. So even when there's a slight elevation, some people may have noticeable symptoms, others may not. But what you need to understand is that disease continues to progress unchecked, unabated in some people, even if they are not feeling anything at first. And that can be five years for some, ten years for some, maybe 15 for some others. 

In fact, I know someone whose symptoms developed almost 15 years after she was diagnosed. She had a few symptoms. And that's a, you know, fortunately, she did get diagnosed, but she didn't. She had a few symptoms, but nothing major. And she developed the, you know, the bigger the major symptoms only 15 years after she was diagnosed. So what happens? Is that so you may have ignored the minor symptoms such as gas, headaches, dry skin, thinking they were not really important or just taken medication to make them go away. Or you may have tried going off gluten for three weeks without seeing any results, because you were not aware that this actually was the first of a five step process of addressing gut health. Or you may be even, you know, you may have been trying to get your doctor to confirm your diagnosis for more than two years, but they are not really sure which disease you have because symptoms keep changing and it's hard to get a diagnosis for many of the human conditions, right? Unless there's a major onset of symptoms.

 And the biggest problem while we are waiting for all of this, is that we can't even feel when the antibodies are killing off the cells in our bodies. And as a result, most people get a diagnosis. In any case, after there is already damage at both cellular and tissue level, right? As doctor Tom O'Brien says in his brilliant book, The Autoimmune Fix, symptoms are not the first manifestations of a problem. They are the last straw when the body cannot compensate any further. And the worst thing you can do is neglect your symptoms or take painkillers to deal with them. Neglecting or suppressing the symptoms allows the underlying imbalances to continue causing more tissue damage. And if you want to delve deeper into this topic, you can actually get his book I'll be sharing. I'll share the link below.

 So, as you can realize by now, you need to identify the drivers and the root causes of the dysregulated immune system so you can prevent this from happening, right? Otherwise, the distributed immune system usually goes on to claim additional victims in the future, leading to multiple autoimmune disease diagnosis. This is why a person with 1 or 2 immune disease goes on to develop two, or maybe even three autoimmune diseases, because they have not really taken the measures to prevent the development of a second, third or fourth follow on autoimmune disease diagnosis. And no matter what the diagnosis is, you need to address the root causes and bring the immune system back into balance. This is so critical, right? I mean, as you can understand, and that's why I want to share with you the five most common myths, because this might be something that has been holding you back. This might be a preventing you from finding a solution to and preventing you from looking for that solution.  So so let's get on with it. 

So myth number one is autoimmune conditions cannot be reversed. I have actually touched upon this in episode number three. but I want to talk about it a bit more because it is important for you to be aware of this. Right? It can be reversed in the sense that the symptoms can be reversed. Whether fully or not will depend on how much damage is already taken place. Because even though there is a genetic component to your disease, your environment also plays a key role in disease activation. This means that the food you put in your mouth, the toxins, your environment on your stress response all have an impact on your disease activation, and at the same time, you can actually prevent and reverse many of your symptoms by changing your environment, your diet, your lifestyle, your mindset. So it's a myth that autoimmune conditions cannot be reversed. 

That brings me to myth number two. The body is weak and vulnerable and develops disease out of the blue. This is a very disempowering and prevalent myth and an autoimmune conditions that I have found in my coaching practice. And that's what I something I found that day when I was talking to this woman. I mean, that's what she truly believed. And if you believe that, then honestly, it's very hard to do something about it. But again, you know, we are so bombarded with messages from different places, it leads us to think that our bodies are weak and vulnerable. Right? So we are conditioned to believe that. And it also leads us to believe that we can develop chronic diseases literally out of the blue, maybe even overnight. And as a result, a disease diagnosis takes us completely by surprise. And it's not just in the case of autoimmune conditions. This is true for any chronic illness, because we don't realize that our bodies have been dealing with some kind of imbalance or dysregulation for a long time, and initially there might be very, very minor symptoms, but we often end up ignoring them. And as I mentioned earlier, it is only much later when there's enough tissue and organ damage that we actually might get the symptoms and then get a disease diagnosis. But then by that time a lot of time has passed. It can be five years, ten years, 15 years, right. So you can appreciate the kind of control that you have on your own health. On the outcome of your disease. 

Myth number three the immune system is confused and starts attacking the body's own tissues for no reason whatsoever. Once again, we believe that our immune system starts running havoc, becomes confused and attacks right without any reason.  I mean, that's that's a myth and it's not true. The reason very often my immune system becomes hypervigilant and mimics and mistakes our own body tissue as foreign or as a threat has its root. In molecular mimicry, for example, it mistakes glide in. It's a protein found in gluten, uh, so it mistakes gliadin, that particular protein that is found in gluten for, uh, that that is found in the thyroid gland. This is in the case of autoimmune thyroid diseases like Hashimoto's and Graves disease. Right. And it can also mistake gliding. I mean, also the presence of a toxin or a microbe in a tissue for a long period of time. It can start mistaking that right as the tissue and start attacking it. And the thing is, our immune system is designed to keep us alive, is extremely strong, and it reacts strongly to this threat as well as the tissue, uh, you know, because and leading to and it leads to tissue damage. And if the tissue damage continues for a while, it finally leads to organ dysfunction and eventually organ damage. And it all starts with immune system hypervigilance and nutrient poor food toxin exposure, chronic stress all contribute to this kind of immune dysregulation and hypervigilance. In fact, this is part of the perfect storm that contributes to autoimmune disease activation. And something that I have covered in details in episode three, and I'll be sharing the link below. 1s 

Myth number four immunosuppressive drugs or immune suppressing drugs are evil, or they are the only solution for those with autoimmune conditions because they counteract and reverse the disease. Both are incorrect. Both could not be further from the truth. Immune suppressing medications are life saving and are necessary to prevent further damage to the tissue at times. It depends on where you are, and it also helps us to deal with inflammation and make the symptoms more manageable. Like medicines can help us in these ways. While we address the root of the autoimmune condition. However, suppressing the immune system is not the same as dealing with immune dysregulation and addressing the root cause. 

 Suppressing our immune system does not help to heal from it because it does not address the root causes. As simple as that. And these medications often have dramatic downstream consequences, including secondary autoimmune diseases or life threatening infections. Right. And these side effects are often frequent, common and destructive. So they are not the solution. They are a stopgap short to medium term measure, and they make life more manageable, symptoms more manageable as we figured out a long term solution.. So this so again it's the first step is healing your gut addressing gut health which is actually the root of autoimmune disease progression. And medications may just help you buy you time to do that. 

Myth number five autoimmune diseases are all somehow separate and unique and need to be treated completely differently. There are more than 100 autoimmune diseases that have been identified, right? However, all these diseases are not really unique or separate, but it can be tricky to understand this. I give the example of cancer. Now cancer you know that it's a cancer of the breast, the uterus of the prostate and lung, etc. the word common word is cancer. So you understand that it's cancer, right? And cell overgrowth. And what has to be done now in the case of autoimmune conditions, unfortunately the names are all different. So you have motos, you have race graves, you have lupus, you have a multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, all different names. So it then feels like they're all different. But again, remember that autoimmune condition has at its root a certain level of immune dysregulation and a chronically alert immune system that leads to widespread inflammation which has to be addressed. So this is irrespective of which autoimmune disease you have been diagnosed with. And this is exactly why taking medications to deal with the symptoms, or waiting for all the answers and getting a confirmed diagnosis will not help you to address why you have this disease in the first place. 

But in fact, this is why we were stuck in my in our daughter's case. You know, we were stuck in a disease Merry-Go-Round for almost five years. We tried out, I think, three immune suppressing medications. One of. To the other, including an oral steroid, till one of them have had a devastating side effect and almost to life. Right. And that's that's when I realized the limitations of conventional medicine. And I've shared the story of our story of healing and hope in the very first episode, and I'll share the link below. You can listen to that. This is what led me to functional medicine in the first place, because I understood and I realized firsthand, uh, the limitations and what I needed to do it was it took a lot of time to get to that, but I did and never looked back.

 So I hope that this episode has opened your eyes to the fact that autoimmune diseases happen for a reason. Uh, I hope that sharing these five myths has helped you to understand where you are stuck and how you can proceed further, because this disease does not get to decide your future. Whether it's how you work, how you play, or how you live. Your immune system is neither broken or dumb, right? Your body's neither broken nor dumb. It is simply trying its best to adapt to the environment you're asking it to live. Because chronic autoimmune activation is a form of mal adaptation adaptation by your immune system and your body to ensure survival in the current circumstances. So it's in your hands to find ways to restore balance and reverse autoimmune disease. So this means focusing on things like healing and repairing the gut lining, improving nutrient absorption, maximizing it, reducing inflammation, balancing the immune system, managing stress. So by taking all these steps to address the root causes of your disease, you can manage your symptoms more effectively and even prevent further damage. 

Start by focusing on the areas that you need to prioritize right. You need to figure out what are the key areas. Of course, gut health is one of the main ones, but if you're not sure what these are, you can look at some some of the things which might be a bit more simple in a way. Your relationship with food and your diet, your stress response, your thoughts and your behavior and your daily choices that you're making. Because in my experience of dealing with women with chronic illnesses, I have found that these are actually common areas of concern that they need to prioritize right from the start. 

I'm a firm believer in, you know, laying a very strong foundation. If you want to erect a strong building, you need to have a layer strong foundation. And sometimes we overlook that because we're choosing other things that we believe will help us. Yes. Uh, tests, medications, treatments are useful, like, you know, life saving, but they are not the solution in the case of chronic conditions. Um, they are important. Yes, but so is addressing the root causes, which you can do by laying a strong foundation for healing and creating a healing environment. 

So learn how to prioritize key areas of your life. Take the steps today to lay a strong foundation and take care of your body by taking into account the current circumstances in your life as William James had said, act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. If you have any questions, you can connect with me on Instagram at and in the room to. Thank you so much for joining me today for this episode of Embrace Your Healing Journey. If you want to take the next step in discovering in your your own power to heal by figuring out what needs to be done so that you can find relief from your symptoms. Sign up to download the free e-book The Autoimmune Symptoms Relief Guide, and you can head to aninditarungta.com/symptomrelief.Com forward slash symptom relief. In the next episode, I will dive deeper into the number one mistake that most people make when it comes to dealing with an autoimmune condition. Don't miss it. Your body knows how to heal. Are you ready to support it?