Understanding The Autoimmune Spectrum and How to Get Your Life Back
July 9th, 2019
Conventional medicine tells us that autoimmune disease is a black-or-white issue—you either have it or you don’t—and if you have it, you are destined to a life of painful symptoms and harsh medications. However, that’s simply not true. Instead, there is what I call “the autoimmune spectrum” and inflammation determines where you fall on that spectrum.
I coined this term back when I first began writing about autoimmunity, and thanks to my book, The Autoimmune Solution, it’s now become an established term in functional medicine to explain how autoimmune conditions develop, and more importantly, how to reverse them. You can also find this approach in The Autoimmune Solution online program.
My goal is to empower you and provide you with the tools I wish I had when conventional medicine failed me during my personal struggle with autoimmune disease. I want to help you get to the root of your autoimmunity so you can take back your health and avoid the harsh treatments that were pushed on me by conventional medicine.
The good news is that by reducing inflammation, you CAN work your way down the autoimmune spectrum and reverse your condition! By understanding the factors that contribute to inflammation, you can get to the root cause of your autoimmunity and start leading your best life.
Autoimmunity: Your Immune System Gone Rogue
At its core, autoimmune disease is a disease of the immune system. Aside from the nervous system, the immune system is the body’s most complex system, made up of the following:
- Digestive system
- Bone marrow
- Lymph nodes
- Thin skin on the inside of your nose, throat, and genitals1
All of these tissues, organs, and cells work together to keep your entire body healthy.
Our current medical system does not recognize autoimmune diseases as diseases of the immune system as a whole. Instead, they are treated as diseases of particular organs. However, when you have autoimmunity, it means that somewhere along the way your immune system went rogue and began attacking your own tissues. It could be your thyroid under attack, your intestines, your skin, your brain, your pancreas, or another organ.
No matter what part of your body is under siege, the underlying problem is within your immune system. This means in order to prevent and reverse your autoimmune disease you’ll need to get your immune system back under control.
Inflammation and The Autoimmune Spectrum
So what induced your immune system to go rogue in the first place? One word: inflammation. Nearly everyone in our modern society has at least some inflammation thanks to our modern lifestyles. The five factors that I’ve identified in my patients that lead to chronic inflammation are diet, leaky gut, toxin exposure, infections, and chronic stress, or a combination of these factors.
For many people, diet is their primary source of inflammation, particularly gluten and dairy, as well as corn, soy, grains, and legumes.
Even those of us with a clean diet are exposed to thousands of environmental toxins that contribute to inflammation every day in the form of plastics, pesticides, herbicides, and hormones in our food, heavy metal exposure from fish and dental fillings, air and water pollution, and the list goes on and on.
Family history can also impact where you fall on the spectrum. The more relatives you have with an autoimmune condition, the higher your risk is, especially when it’s a first-degree relative such as a parent or sibling. Even so, genetics only account for about 25% of the chance that you will develop an autoimmune disease. That means the remaining 75% of the picture is environmental—and therefore up to you. I find that an incredibly empowering statistic.
Once you figure out where you fall on the spectrum, you can assess your risk for developing autoimmunity. If you’ve already been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, you can reduce inflammatory factors in your life and work your way back down the spectrum.
The Autoimmune Spectrum
At the low end of the autoimmune spectrum are those of you who are only moderately inflamed. You may get occasional acne, digestive issues, and fatigue, although these tend to come and go, and you haven’t begun to show signs of chronic illness.
Toward the middle of the spectrum are those who experience symptoms of chronic inflammation that have not yet turned into full-blown autoimmune disorders. These conditions might include joint pain, obesity, allergies, muscle aches, fatigue, and digestive issues. Although you don’t have an autoimmune condition at this point, you are at a higher risk to develop one if you do not address your inflammation.
Finally, at the high end of the spectrum are those who can officially be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. While conventional doctors would doom you to being on medications for life or have you use other drastic measures to control your autoimmunity, there are simple lifestyle changes you can adopt to live a healthy and symptom-free life.
By addressing the root cause of inflammation, you can stop your immune system’s attack on your tissues. That way you can work your way back down the spectrum. I have a five-step approach to help you do exactly that.
Additionally, you can find this five-step approach in The Autoimmune Solution and The Autoimmune Solution online program.
Life Happens: Moving Back Up the Autoimmune Spectrum
Right before I wrote my second book, I was at the healthiest point of the autoimmune spectrum. I was feeling great and all of my autoimmune markers were negative. I did what I have many of my patients do: I added more variety into my diet. Now don’t get me wrong; I didn’t go crazy and start eating gluten. However, I did reintroduce some of the foods I knew I could tolerate in moderation, including rice, legumes, and eggs. I was also traveling, so I ate out more and was sometimes eating foods that were not 100% certified organic. Additionally, I enjoyed a gluten-free, dairy-free dessert on occasion.
Then I became really, really sick. Several of my inflammatory markers were higher than I wanted them to be. I was moving in the wrong direction on the autoimmune spectrum. Something was wrong, and I needed to figure out what. After lots of testing and lots of digging, my husband, Xavier, and I discovered toxic mold in our house.
We moved to a newly built apartment, and I became even more ill from the off-gassing of the building materials, wall-to-wall carpeting, and composite wood cabinets. Even leaving the house was a risk because I became so sensitive to certain chemicals. I never knew what would cause me to break out in a bright red rash. I became so sick that I actually slept on our outdoor balcony for a month so I knew that I was breathing fresh, clean air at night!
The Myers Way® for Life
The important lesson in my story is that life happens to all of us. Even the healthiest people can move in the wrong direction on the autoimmune spectrum. They also experience symptoms again because of circumstances that are out of our control. That is why it is so important to remember that you always have the power. You can work your way back toward optimal symptom-free health by getting 100% back on board with The Myers Way®. That’s what I did, and I am feeling great again. I followed my five-step approach to health laid out in The Autoimmune Solution and detoxed from toxic mold.
I call my program The Myers Way® because it really is a way of life. Life may throw you a curveball. However, you can control your place on the autoimmune spectrum using the five steps of The Myers Way®.
In addition to reversing my own autoimmune condition and working my way back down the spectrum, I’ve seen thousands of patients successfully reverse their conditions using The Myers Way®, and thousands more have been empowered by my book, The Autoimmune Solution and my 6-week online program, The Autoimmune Solution Program. You can do it too!
Free Training: 5 Ways to Reverse Autoimmune Disease (That Your Doctor Won’t Tell You)
My FREE online training course, 5 Ways to Reverse Autoimmune Disease (That Your Doctor Won’t Tell You) is a great place to start if you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and have had it with conventional medicine. I created this training to empower any of you dealing with autoimmunity. You CAN uncover the root cause of your disease and you CAN reverse your condition using surprisingly simple lifestyle changes.
In this training, you will discover how optimizing your diet, repairing your gut, taming the toxins in your life, healing your infections, and relieving your stress are all steps you can take to support your body’s inflammatory response and stop your immune system from attacking your tissues. You’ll feel better, have more energy, and you may even be able to ditch your medications for good!
Are you ready to take back your health? Register now!