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FAQ Autoimmune Disease

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

Over 50 million North Americans suffer from Autoimmune Diseases, and almost 75% are women.  An autoimmune disease is an abnormal response to normal immune function.

Normally, the immune system attacks foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and cancer cells that can harm the body. A healthy immune system innately knows not to attack the body’s own tissues. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system confuses the tissues of the body as foreign, and attacks them.


What causes Autoimmune Diseases?

What triggers an autoimmune disease is not completely understood, although it has been extrapolated that individuals that have a genetic predisposition to this abnormal immunity, can trigger this cascade of damage.

Dr. Jiwani believes that autoimmune diseases mean that the body has been stressed enough to trigger the negative expression of one’s genetics. These stressors may come in the form of mental, emotional and physical forms. Physical stressors may include food allergies, toxins, drugs, bacteria or viruses.

The pathway of damage of autoimmune diseases is inflammation, which results in the destruction of various body tissues, abnormal growth of the organ and/or changes to its function.


What are Symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases?

The symptoms of autoimmune diseases depend on where the inflammatory damage occurs, and in which tissues. General symptoms reflect the immune response, and may be temporary or long term.

General Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue, Low Energy
  • Lethargy & Malaise
  • Rashes
  • Joint Pain
  • Fever

What are Types of Autoimmune Diseases?

There are many types of autoimmune diseases, divided into whether it affects a specific organ or whether it causes symptoms throughout the body.

Affects a Specific Organ:

  • Adrenal Glands:  Addison’s Disease
  • Bladder:  Interstitial Cystitis
  • Intestines:  Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis
  • Esophagus:  Eosinophilic Esophagitis
  • Kidneys:  Iga Nephropathy
  • Liver:  Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Muscles:  Myasthenia Gravis
  • Nervous System:  Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pancreas:  Diabetes Type I
  • Salivary Glands: Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Skin:  Lichen Planus
  • Skin:  Vitiligo
  • Spine:  Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Stomach:  Pernicious Anemia
  • Thyroid:  Hashimoto’s / Graves Disease

 Affects the Whole Body:


What are Treatments for Autoimmune Diseases?

 Conventional Medicine (your MD):

The goal of treatment is to:

  • Reduce Symptoms
  • Suppress the Autoimmune Process

Naturopathic Medicine (Dr. Jiwani):

The goal of treatment is to:

  • Reduce Symptoms
  • Normalize the Autoimmune Process
  • Address Underlying Deficiencies from Disease Process i.e. hormones, vitamins, minerals etc
  • Create Individualized Treatment Plan Specific for Patient

Dr. Jiwani’s Autoimmune Health Story…


This article is for educational purposes only and does not advocate self-diagnosis.  Due to individual variability, consultation with a licensed health professional, such as a naturopathic physician is highly recommended, prior to starting a natural treatment plan.

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