An autoimmune disorder is a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks a person’s own body. Some common autoimmune disorders include Lupus, Addison disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Graves disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Type 1 diabetes, Endometriosis, Interstitial Cystitis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. These disorders may vary in severity from mild to severe, but even mild cases can be serious. Because the immune system is in a weakened state, people with autoimmune disorders often have difficulty fighting off even basic illnesses, like the common cold.
In Western medical thought, the causes of autoimmune disorders is unknown. Common theories of what causes autoimmune disorders include congenital, environmental, chemical, or bacterial origin. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a diagnosis is based primarily on the individual’s signs and symptoms, and may include a weakness in the digestion and/or a genetic component.
For many autoimmune disorders, especially ones that are caused by genetics, some providers believe there is no cure. Often, though, these disorders can be managed so that they have only a minimal impact, if any impact, on a person’s quality of life.
Both Western and Eastern medicine have treatment options for autoimmune disorders, and the two approaches can often complement each other. Western medicine tends to rely heavily on medications and medical procedures, which at times are medically necessary. Eastern medicine is often able to manage the symptoms of many disorders with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, by regulating the body’s immune system and strengthening underlying deficiencies. The best treatment for the individual patient, regardless of whether they’re Western or Eastern solutions, will depend on a number of factors. For instance, what the patient’s autoimmune disorder is, what symptoms the patient experiences, and whether the patient has any other medical conditions may impact a doctor’s recommended course of treatment.
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