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Autoimmune diseases – when the body fights back

Posted on February 24, 2021 by Michael Boettcher

An autoimmune disease is a disease caused by a reaction of the body’s immune system. Autoimmune diseases attack tissues or organs. The symptoms vary from person to person, depending on the disease, and only in some cases can be treated with medication. Autoimmune diseases affect many people and are among the most common chronic diseases in Germany.In Western countries, they affect about five percent of the population, with women being affected relatively more often. The best known and most common autoimmune diseases are:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hashimoto’s
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Lupus

What happens in the body during an autoimmune disease?

In an autoimmune disease, the body’s immune defense system attacks tissue. Which tissue is attacked depends on the type of immune disease. Normally, the immune system attacks mainly pathogens foreign to the body, such as viruses, bacteria or fungi. In the case of an autoimmune disease, the immune system can no longer distinguish between cells that are foreign to the body and those that are the body’s own, and therefore also attacks healthy cells. However, an autoimmune disease should not be confused with an allergy. In the case of allergies, the immune system does not behave in an autoimmune manner, but rather assesses harmless foreign material as threatening and then reacts to it in an exaggerated manner.

How can physical therapy help with an autoimmune disease?

Certain autoimmune diseases affect the skin or internal organs, while others, such as multiple sclerosis, affect muscle tissue and joints. The physical fitness and motor skills of those affected can be impaired, especially after an episode. With targeted exercises, we help maintain mobility and fitness and relieve pain in the long term. Based on a careful assessment, we develop an individual therapy program – adapted to the circumstances, the course of the disease and the personal needs of our patients.

Nutrition is the key to a better quality of life

In some autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease or diabetes, a healthy diet is also an important factor for well-being. With our nutritional counseling, we help those affected to create a balanced diet plan tailored to their needs. Depending on the disease, certain diets can help alleviate symptoms. Basically, the diet should be low in sugar and rich in fiber and contain foods that are believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Would you like a consultation or an appointment? Feel free to call us or use our online appointment tool.

Yours Michael Boettcher