10 Signs You Have an Autoimmune Disease and How to Reverse It

June 20th, 2017

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10 Signs You Have an Autoimmune Disease and How to Reverse it

We are truly experiencing an autoimmune disease epidemic right now. Autoimmunity has increased threefold over the last 50 years, and it currently affects between 50 and 75 million Americans. It is the third leading chronic illness in the US, right behind heart disease and cancer. And it accounts for over $100 billion annually in healthcare costs.

I’ve seen this epidemic first-hand, both as a patient and a physician. I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune thyroid condition, my second year of medical school, and I now specialize in treating autoimmune patients in my clinic.

Another aspect of autoimmunity that is cause for alarm, besides the skyrocketing rates of it, is that autoimmune diseases often go undiagnosed for years. In fact, it takes an average of five to six doctors and five years to receive an autoimmune diagnosis.

There are a number of reasons for why this is the unfortunate case (which I cover in my book), and one of them is that autoimmune diseases come in many different varieties, including Hashimoto’s, Graves’ Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s, and more, and can cause many different types of symptoms all over the body that range from mild to severe in nature. So, what’s causing these mysterious illnesses that are so difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat?

Let’s take a look at what autoimmunity is, some of the most common symptoms, and what to do if you have it.


What are autoimmune diseases?

Although there are many different types of autoimmune diseases and they can affect many different organs (such as your thyroid if you have Hashimoto’s, or your joints if you have Rheumatoid Arthritis), at their core they are all similar in that they are an immune response that leads your body to attack itself. No matter what type of autoimmune disease you have, the true problem (and solution) lies with your immune system.No matter what type of autoimmune disease you have, the true problem (and solution) lies with your immune system. Click To Tweet

Your immune system has a very sophisticated system for keeping you safe that leads it to identify all of the foreign substances that enter your body or that you come into contact with. If your immune system deems anything dangerous, it will produce antibodies to ward off the harmful intruders.

Autoimmune diseases are born when your body is working hard to defend itself against something potentially dangerous, such as an allergen, a toxin, an infection, or even a food, and it fails to differentiate between the intruder and parts of your own body. Your stressed immune system then turns antibodies against you, mistakenly attacking your own tissues instead of invaders, causing a potentially wide range of symptoms.


10 Signs You May Have an Autoimmune Disease

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially a combination of several of them, you may have an autoimmune disease.

    1. Joint pain, muscle pain or weakness, or a tremor
    2. Weight loss, insomnia, heat intolerance, or rapid heartbeat
    3. Recurrent rashes or hives, sun sensitivity, a butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks.
    4. Difficulty concentrating or focusing
    5. Feeling tired or fatigued, weight gain, or cold intolerance
    6. Hair loss or white patches on your skin or inside your mouth
    7. Abdominal pain, blood or mucus in your stool, diarrhea, or mouth ulcers
    8. Dry eyes, mouth, or skin
    9. Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
    10. Multiple miscarriages or blood clots


What causes autoimmunity and how can you reverse it?

Conventional medicine will tell you that autoimmune diseases are caused by genetics. And there certainly is a genetic component to them. However, twin studies have shown that genetics only accounts for about 25% of the chance that you will develop an autoimmune disorder. That means the remaining 75% of the picture is environmental — and therefore up to you! I find that an incredibly empowering statistic.

And, what I find the most incredible as a physician is that by addressing these environmental factors you can not only prevent an autoimmune condition, but also REVERSE it after it develops.

So what are these environmental factors and how can you overcome them using dietary and lifestyle changes?

Through my experience as a functional medicine physician and working with thousands of autoimmune patients, I have identified five environmental factors that play a key role in the creation of autoimmune diseases.

The Root Cause Pie Chart
Root Causes of Autoimmunity Pie Chart

Remember, that all autoimmune diseases are a problem of the immune system. It is by addressing the root causes above that you ease the burden on your immune system that caused it to go rogue and attack your own tissues in the first place. Then, once your optimal immune function has been restored and your body is no longer attacking itself, your symptoms disappear.

So, if you have Hashimoto’s, your thyroid is typically able to begin producing its hormones again, if you have Rheumatoid arthritis your joint pain subsides, and so on.

The important thing to keep in mind is that YOU have the ability to take your health back into your own hands. Your genes do not control your destiny, and if you’re willing to commit to addressing the true underlying causes of your condition, you can eliminate your symptoms and reclaim your vitality!


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  • jen

    Amy I have tested negative ana, negative ss-a and negative ss-b but I have dry eyes. My naturopath diagnosed adrenal issues through muscle response testing and said that is the cause. Have you ever seen this? Im only 23 but I’ve been living with this issue since I was 17. Im taking adrenomend for now, eat AI paleo ans well as other supplements and probiotics. Think adrenal burnout is causing insufficient tear production? I know some people don’t believe in adrenal fatigue…

    • yes I see people with neg AI markers but have symptoms — I go with symptoms. Most people have some sort of adrenal fatigue or issue.

      We’d be happy to see you!

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  • linda wilcox

    Tips on inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerated bowel? Thank you Amy Myers.

  • Jean Atchley Hindman

    I have mg n fibro n diabetic. On messition for mg. Don’t ever fell good or wanna go anywhere take iv ig 2 times a month 2 days in a row ????? What now

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  • Lorna Paris

    I have Multiple Sclerosis, I got a flue shot last year but I am not sure if I need to get any more of em. I livr in NE Newmexico and amy still trying to get past The Whpp[ing Cough that I [icked up about a month ago. . .I hate all this crud and having it effect me

  • Debbi

    I was diagnosed with fibro 4 years ago, IBS 2 years ago, RA, Connective Tissue Disease & beginning stages of Lupus 3 months ago. I am currently taking 26 prescriptions per day, along with 12 vitamins, and 4 allergy pills a day. Do you have any suggestions… I am not getting too much relief, still in pain every where, feeling like I am dehydrated, mouth is always dry and on the edge of thrush, eyes are dry, nose bleeds, The list could go on and on. Any suggestions/help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Terri M

    Amy I was recently diagnosed w/neutropenia (moderate). Will be going back to Dr. tomorrow. Then I plan to make an appt. w/integrated health Dr. I just found in the area. What should I be doing in the mean time??? I am gluten sensitive and avoid sugar.

    • Check out my article and eBook on Candida. I find many with Candida have low WBC count and nutrapenia

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  • Kimberly DeWalt

    Amy, I have made several lifestyle changes, cured my LG and have gotten my immune systems calmed down. I’ve been able to lower my Methimazole from 50 mg a day down to 7.5 but I still have a large goiter. Is there a trick to getting the goiter to shrink? Thanks!

  • Doc Red

    Important for health professionals, is the ability to diagnosed the level of Immunologic response of the patient. Balance and hyper-reactive IR are considered normal for vertebrates immune system. We should be very careful for Hyper-reactive type, because it can over-react and developed Auto-immune diseases.

  • Elaine Frances McMurren

    Amy, I have achieved remarkable improvement in health by eliminating foods. I now eat Paleo but no eggs or night shades. Last Thursday I had an allergy test. They poked my back w/every food under the sun. What a HORRIBLE mistake! That was 5 days ago. How do I get this flair up to stop? (Very swollen face, neck, upper torso. Adrenal glands pumping. Heart racing. Joint pain. Ears ringing. It feels like people are beating me up.) I should have known this would happen. The gastroenterologist sent me to the allergist. Both doctors must have known about this. This is a huge setback in my health. I will NEVER consult a doctor again. I was hoping to find I could be a little less strict because my diet isolates me & I live alone. Also I can’t sustain the weight loss much longer. I was always 5ft, 6in & 120-125lbs. Now

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  • Laura Elizabeth Foss

    I have been diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome as the cause of my gluten and grain intolerance. Can i do the AIP diet while breastfeeding my 4 month old daughter?

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  • Vwelch7

    I was diagnosed with SLE, FM, CFS. I went down to 95 lbs and nearly died. I do not tolerate the drugs ( which are horrible) for SLE. I gained 40 lbs in eight weeks after being on steroids for two years and Lyrica for FM for five years. ANA always positive as well as dbl DNA positive. I am looking for a solution bc this has literally taken my life over . I can no longer work . I live in missouri any suggestions of who to see?

  • thebaglady13

    I have lupus nephritis and decided to get your book and give it a try. Have been on your autoimmune diet for 2 weeks. Problem is, the protein leakage seems to be getting worse! Maybe I shouldn’t be on a diet with meat? I’m really confused by all of it. I’m trying so hard to be able to go back to the doctor in 2 months and say I don’t need the kidney biopsy after all!!

  • elisal

    Hi Amy. Any feedback you can offer would be so appreciated. After years of exploration and working on my health at all levels, with some progress, I have recently been diagnosed with toxic gadolinium levels.I’ve been unable to find anybody other than my immediate MD to communicate regarding this issue. Seems that it is unheard of. Am trying to get up the nerve to begin the EDTA suppositories recommended by my MD. Have no idea how I’ve come to have this overload. Have never had an MRI with contrast material. My traditional medical labs come back pretty healthy.. I struggle with numerous issues, however, including chronic pain in my hips, lower back, and thighs, irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis, dry eyes, anxiety, and depression to name a few. Any info. you might have would be so appreciated. Thank you. Micki