Auto-Immune Diseases: Why Are They on the Rise?
Auto-immune diseases affect more than 23 million Americans, making them the third most common category of illness after cancer and heart disease. Some of the most common auto-immune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and asthma.
And the incidence of these diseases are on the rise. Since the 1950s, the number of people with celiac’s disease has increase 4 times, lupus rates have tripled, and type 1 diabetes has increased 23 percent in the last decade.
First of all, let me just give a quick definition of what an auto-immune condition is so that we are all on the same page. Auto-immune diseases are disorders where, instead of focusing on attacking things that are invading the body like viruses, bacteria and other pathogens, the immune system actually starts targeting the body’s own tissue.
So what is behind this increase in various auto-immune conditions? What can we do to help make sure we don’t develop one of these illnesses?
In a nutshell, the increase in auto-immune conditions has a lot to do with changes in our environment in the last 100-200 years. With the rise of antibiotics and anti-bacterial products, our immune system is exposed to less frequent challenges that it needs to fight off and defend us from. While this might sound like a good thing at first, those challenges actually help train the immune system to do its job properly. It is interesting to note that auto-immune conditions very rarely occur in poorer nations with different hygiene and sanitation standards.
In addition, things like antibiotics and anti-bacterial products kill off the diversity of the GOOD bacteria in our bodies as well as the bad.
So one of the things that we can do to help decrease our likelihood of developing an auto-immune disease is to try and avoid taking antibiotics unless they are truly necessary and to not use anti-bacterial products. Give your immune system the chance to actually work to defend your body so it gets the training it needs.
If you are curious about this topic and want to learn more, I’d love for you to join me on Monday February 29th for a FREE webinar on the rise of allergies and auto-immune conditions. Registration is simple- just click here and input your email!