Smitha Nair M.D.

Autoimmune Disorder Is on the Rise!

Autoimmune disorder is on the rise and most people know someone with one or more autoimmune diseases.   There are over 100 diseases directly related to autoimmune or rooted in autoimmune reactions.

According to the National Institute of Health 23.5 million Americans have reported symptoms and suffering due to a form of autoimmune disease - but some think that number is actually closer to 50 million!

A recent review of the literature concluded that worldwide rates of rheumatic, endocrinological, gastrointestinal, and neurological autoimmune diseases are increasing by four to seven percent per year, with the most significant increases seen in celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and myasthenia gravis (rapid fatigue of the muscles).

This information might sound grave, but there’s hope!

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to manage your stress. The immune system is susceptible to stress, which can cause (and worsen) all types of diseases. Stress is a hormonal response, and overstimulating hormones will further weaken the immune system.

To keep your immune system boosted and symptoms at bay, be proactive in finding ways to reduce stress. Yoga is a beneficial way to stay active and reduce stress. Not only is it possible to practice yoga in your home, but you can find tons of instructional videos online for free, for any level from beginner to expert.

Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease are among the over 100 types of autoimmune diseases.

The immune system is the body’s defense against harmful pathogens, and autoimmune diseases signal a weakness in that defense. Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ (for example, type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas), while other conditions, such as lupus, affect the whole body.

While the cause of autoimmune diseases is widely unknown, data shows that women are more likely than men and certain ethnic groups are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases - although this could be due to reporting bias. Diet, infections, and chemical exposure are also thought to play a significant role in underlying causes.

In order to truly understand your autoimmune disease, it’s necessary to examine potential underlying causes to manage the root of the issue, rather than just the symptoms.

This can be done with an in-depth look at your medical and lifestyle history to understand and examine your particular condition from all angles.

Learn more about the various types of autoimmune diseases, factors linked to causes, and lifestyle changes that can reduce symptoms by signing up for my Autoimmunity Email Series at:

Please note that all recommendations here are guidelines only. It is always advisable to speak with your practitioner about supplementation and the use of treatments, including herbal remedies. For prolonged illness or illness that does not improve, seek medical attention.

To book an appointment with functional medicine practitioner Dr. Nair, MD, click here.