Autoimmune Disease Q & A
Autoimmune diseases are incredibly difficult to manage since the battle to be waged is against the very system that’s designed to protect you in the first place. As a leading environmental and integrative medicine specialist at the Environmental Health Center–Buffalo (EHC Buffalo), Dr. Kalpana Patel works to identify the environmental triggers that are causing your immune system to misfire and designs a treatment plan that removes the underlying cause. If you’re in or around Buffalo, New York, and you struggle with an autoimmune disease, call the office or use the online scheduling tool to get started or call for a phone consultation.
What is an autoimmune disease?
In an ideal world, your body takes care of itself admirably through its immune system, protecting you from foreign invaders that it deems harmful or suspect. Sometimes, however, this same system can run amok and work against your health, firing up needlessly to a perceived threat.
In its response, your immune system attacks your own body, in a scorched-earth kind of way, mistakenly destroying the very tissue it’s trying to protect.
Why your body decides that something harmless is a threat remains somewhat of a medical mystery, but recent groundbreaking work by experts like Dr. Patel is beginning to unearth some clues. And the environment and genetics play no small roles.
What are the most common autoimmune diseases?
There are approximately 80-100 autoimmune diseases. The diseases are hard to pin down since symptoms can come and go, flaring up and going into remission, sometimes for years. And that’s a good-case scenario. The bad-case scenario is an immune system that relentlessly attacks your body, progressively breaking it down and causing irreversible damage.
The most common autoimmune disorders include:
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriasis (and psoriatic arthritis)
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Multiple sclerosis
This list represents only a sample of the diseases where a malfunctioning immune system may be at the root cause of the problem. Some autoimmune disorders present only mild, chronic problems, while others lead to painful or life-threatening consequences.
How are autoimmune diseases treated?
When it comes to diagnosing and treating autoimmune disorders, Dr. Patel leaves no stone unturned in her quest to locate the source or trigger of the problem.
For patients who suffer from painful inflammatory bowel disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and colitis, she pays close attention to what’s causing your body to attack its own digestive tract and formulates a plan to help you find relief.
While there’s no cure for these autoimmune disorders yet, there’s much that Dr. Patel can offer to make your life more comfortable by helping you avoid multiple bouts of exacerbations. From monitoring your food and your environment to prescribing medications that treat your more debilitating symptoms, Dr. Patel is able to take the teeth out of your immune system malfunction, and she has some newer ways to help to control a malfunctioning, overactive immune system. She also looks for chronic infections and assesses your gut microbiome. In the case of food allergies and sensitivities, Dr. Patel may use new LDA and LDI treatment which gives wonderful results.
To learn more about controlling your autoimmune disease, call EHC Buffalo or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment.