What the Heck is Autoimmune Disease and Why Should I Care?

Written By: Katana Abbott

Over the last decade, I have interviewed experts on Autoimmune Disease but never thought it applied to me.  The fact is, I never really understood what it was.  Do you?

There are more than 80 autoimmune diseases, some are well-known like diabetes, but others include lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and scleroderma.

I have had a hereditary autoimmune disease for over a decade. However, I never thought anything of it because it was apparently in remission.  Then last December, I received my COVID-19 booster, and it may have put my immune system into hyperdrive.  The result?  A full blown breakout that scared me to death.  It was unsightly, painful, and suddenly, I realized what if feels like to have your body attacking itself.

Since that time, I have been researching both autoimmune diseases and their relation to COVID-19.  The good news is that researchers and scientists are getting closer to classifying long COVID as an autoimmune disease. 

In fact, the National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that it’s kicking off a $470 million study to figure out why COVID-19 symptoms persist for so long among many patients. The virus may set off an autoimmune reaction that causes lingering symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of smell, muscle aches, or brain fog.

“We can’t say for sure that it’s an autoimmune disease now, but it’s really starting to look like it,” John Arthur, a researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, told Insider.

Thank God I was referred to a functional medicine doctor who tested me and then put me on an immune supplement protocol.  In addition, I decided to go gluten-free to eliminate any possible inflammation since inflammation is tied to autoimmune.  (You will learn more about this in my interview with Dr. Tom O’Bryan next week!)

I’m much better now, but not fully recovered.   I have noticed that eliminating gluten has had a profound effect on my mental clarity and confidence, because the brain fog and overwhelm I had been experiencing for years is completely gone.

My personal experience led me to share this important information with you this month, and I have selected three terrific guests to share their wisdom on this topic of taking charge of your health without the use of prescription drugs, but instead through a protocol of healthy nutrition, supplementation, stress reduction and more.

Our first guest is Dr. Tom O’Bryan who will share the 5 pillars of chronic inflammatory diseases, what autoimmune disease actually is, and some steps you can take immediately.  Be sure to get out a note pad for this interview.  I did, and I refer to my notes regularly.

In addition, Dr. Tom will share a link to his 9-part docuseries, Betrayal, that you can access for free with interviews from the leading autoimmune functional doctors and their patients who have healed their disease when traditional medicine failed.

Our second guest, Margie Bissinger, will be sharing how to build strong healthy bones.  I was diagnosed with Osteopenia over a decade ago.  My doctors basically told me to keep coming back for another bone density test every other year and my health continued to deteriorate. 

Then in 2020, I finally went to a specialist who told me he wanted me to start taking a prescription called Reclast, a drug that would stop the breakdown of bone in my body.  As I researched the side effects that included nausea, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and vision problems, I found that more serious side effects could include; femur fractures, osteonecrosis of the jaw (dead jaw syndrome) esophageal cancer.  Ugh!  There was no way I was taking this route!

The good news is that I had my 2-year bone density test in January this year, and my bone density had stabilized.  This was without drugs, but instead, changing my diet and supplements, exercise, and reducing stress in my life. 

I’m so excited to have Margie join us this month because she will share secrets we can implement at any age to begin building stronger bones for life.  In addition, she is offering her free mini-eCourse, Improve Your Bone Health Naturally.   

Now if this is not enough, I have one more surprise guest. My client, Gerarda Pizzarello shared her personal story with me of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while she was a student at The Juilliard School. A miracle occurred when she found herself at a clinic in Switzerland where she was introduced to a protocol that put her MS into remission for the last 40 years! I am so thrilled that Gerarda has agreed to share her story with us this month.

Thank you so much for being part of our community and be sure to invite your friends and loved ones to join us to by visiting www.joinsmartwomen.com

Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Midlife Millionaire® Coach, founder of the Smart Women Companies, and the host Smart Women Talk with over a million subscribers.  For over 30 years, Katana has shown women how to take charge of their life and finances and believes it’s never too early to plan for expected and unexpected events like retirement, encore careers, moving abroad, or preparing for long-term care.  She has written several books, created a financial literacy course, and is a popular speaker. Katana has been honored by NAWBO as one of Detroit’s Top 10 Business Women, receiving the Breakthrough Award. To download her new retirement guide, Three Smart Strategies for a Midlife Millionaire® Lifestyle. visit www.katanaabbott.com

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