Is Killing Me!
Solving the connections of autoimmune disease to thyroid problems, fibromyalgia, infertility, anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD and more
By Dr. Kevin Conners
I believe we serve a sovereign God and he has ordained everyone for distinct purposes. One of mine is to share hope to those who are at the ‘end of their rope’. Those suffering from autoimmune disorders seem to be the outcast of the medical community since they have no real answers to offer them. If you find yourself in that category, I hope this book changes that for you. If you Google Auto-Immune disease, you’ll find that it is a process where your body is destroying its own tissue. There tends to be an unnecessary mystery around auto-immune disorders and like many named diagnoses, we are sometimes lead to believe they are curses we have inherited from our ancestors or unexplainable phenomena that have no known cure. I will try to refute such myths and shed a bit of light on disease in general so that the average person on the street may better understand management of their own condition.
Autoimmune diseases in general are commonly overlooked in both traditional medicine and alternative healthcare. This is at least in part due to the fact that neither traditional medicine nor the alternative model of care has had much, if any, success in treating them. If we look at the traditional model of care, we find that complete immune suppression is the treatment of choice; its success rate is horrible and the patient is often killed by the medications meant to help them. Alternative solutions have fared better only as far as they didn’t kill the patient.
In 25 years of practice, I’ve seen the failings of both models and have experienced my share of disappointments in attempting to give patients a fuller life. Quite simply, both models do not work. In my quest to find a solution for the tremendous suffering that autoimmune conditions bring upon their victims, I first had to admit that what I was doing just did not work. It was so frustrating; my brain could not rest and my mind would not be at ease. Though I take no credit of my own in the methods of correction this book will lay out, I am ecstatic over the hundreds of patients I have been able to help since discovering the solution. The “solution” to treating patients with autoimmune disease lies in understanding the mechanism. The mechanism assumes knowledge of biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and neurology. I simply stand on the shoulders of the many far more intellectual than I who have paved the way to help those in need. My hope is that this book brings true HOPE to those who have suffered too long!
In this book you’ll find patient testimonials scattered throughout. I changed the names for obvious reasons, but these are just a few of the stories we hear on a daily basis. We have six, three-ring binders full of ‘success stories’, so many that we stopped asking for them about 2 years ago. Believe me when I say that there IS HOPE. Don’t ever give up! If you are sick and in pain, call me personally, I am always open for consultations. God led you to this for a reason; you need to believe!
My prayer is for you,
Dr. Kevin Conners www.UpperRoomWellnessCenter.com 651.739.1248
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
C. S. Lewis
At 47 years of age, Anna thought her life was going to get a little easier. As the mother of three boys, crazy days were the norm throughout the toddler and school years. Now Tom, her youngest, just graduated from High School and was to be leaving for college in the fall. Though Anna had been secretly fanaticizing about going back to school, getting a job she’d enjoy, or just taking up painting again, a hobby she enjoyed ‘before kids’, she now wonders if she’ll be able to do anything at all. Just a few months before Tom graduated, Anna started getting severe knee pain that started in the right leg and soon became bilateral. She passed it off as stiffness from non-use until it grew in intensity and both knees swelled for no apparent reason. After her medical doctor prescribed 800mg of Advil to be taken every four hours, she grew suspicious that there was little attempt to discover the cause. The pain and swelling worsened and Anna was referred to a rheumatologist who, after some testing, diagnosed her with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Anna was devastated and her prognosis seemed grim – medications for life to simply ‘manage’ the condition.
One of the things that happened over time, in traditional medicine, is that their model for care has become governed by whether there exists pharmaceutical intervention. The purpose in obtaining a diagnosis is simply to administer medications to manage the symptoms. They may look at autoimmune conditions and believe that as long as they give the condition a Latin name, the investigation is over and they simply need to open the Merck Manual and prescribe the appropriate drug. If the person has Rheumatoid Arthritis, let’s try Tramadol, if the diagnosis is Multiple Sclerosis, our protocol may be Interferon; if the person is hypothyroid, we’re going for replacement hormones, and at first we don’t succeed, then try, try again.
Success is measured by the suppression of symptoms not correcting the cause that is producing an effect. The population seems to be okay with this model: Give my symptoms a name and then drug them into oblivion. Unfortunately, we are going to discover that this type of mentality is leading us down the road of destruction. The question they really need to ask is why they became sick in the first place. The answer to this question for many suffering people may lie in the fact that they have an immune destruction against their tissue that, unless stopped, is continuously progressing and may ultimately cause death. We cannot be satisfied with symptom suppression while ignoring the cause; we must never settle for a treatment that does not address the reason the disease exists; and we must become our own advocates, studying and demanding that our healthcare practitioner ‘proves’ their cure with logical understanding of the process itself.
He was only eight years old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He’s been on insulin injections for 23 years now and has a difficult time keeping his blood glucose levels perfect, with frequent spikes and drops. That’s not what brought him to seek help though. Four years ago his energy was going through extreme hills and valleys. His wife questioned him about stress at work and they frequently fought over things that ‘bothered him’ that previously were never an issue in their 9 years of marriage. Robert refused to go to counseling but did agree to a visit to the family doctor. After a routine blood workup revealed nothing out of the normal range, his MD ordered a TSH, the test for the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. In traditional medicine approaches, the TSH alone is run to determine the health of the thyroid gland. Sure enough, Robert’s TSH was 47, more than 40 points above normal and it gave the doctor what he wanted – a diagnosis! Robert was diagnosed with low thyroid and placed on synthetic thyroid medication for life.
Robert’s story is identical to the millions of other ‘hypothyroid’ patients. Typically, when people do have a hypothyroid response, they generally don’t really feel that much better with replacement after what I call the “honeymoon period”. Their TSH’s look really nice and pretty with lab work but in reality, the patient does NO better, even if symptoms are subtly suppressed. They still have NOT addressed the cause of their condition and if you don’t fix the cause, the disease progresses! We’ll discuss the fact that hypothyroidism is NOT really a disease of the thyroid at all but an autoimmune attack on the thyroid from a normal functioning immune response that has ‘gone awry’. We will discuss why that takes place.
We also have to be fair and address how hypothyroidism has been traditionally supported from an alternative medicine model. In Robert’s case, after two and a half years of dissatisfaction in the replacement model of care through his MD, he decided to take the advice of a friend and visit a Naturopath. The naturopathic doctor gave Robert iodine and tyrosine supplements and a glandular product to support the thyroid in an attempt to give the gland the building blocks to recover. As was true in Robert’s case, these usually don’t do anything to correct the cause of the problem because they do NOT dampen the immune response against the thyroid. It is equally a failing approach and will often do less for the patient’s symptoms than replacement therapy.
If there is any ‘take away’ from this book may it be to stimulate the reader to ask one simple question as to their symptoms – “why?” If the answer to your question leads you to believe you may have an autoimmune disorder, don’t stop asking and don’t accept any treatment that isn’t logically treating the answers to your constant questions of, “Why?” When we see a person that has an autoimmune disease of any name, the goal really is to discover the cause (the reason ‘why’) of the immune dysregulation and make every effort to correct that. If you don’t support and modulate your immune system you will NEVER improve your physiology and the disease will simply progress to complete destruction and then begin to attack other organs and systems.
In the case of autoimmune disease against a specific organ like Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, there is little help in direct organ support without correcting the cause. The mechanism for the issue is the immune response in the first place and not that the organ is deficient in any type of nutrient; the reason the person may need hormone replacement (such as Synthyroid) in hypothyroidism is because the immune system is actually destroying the cells, but replacement without halting the destruction is missing the point. Both approaches are like throwing a sandwich to a man being attacked by a pack of wolves; even if your intent was to help him, he has bigger problems than hunger.
When we look at a person that is not well, one of the first questions needs to be, “what’s the mechanism”. One of the main mechanisms is an autoimmune mechanism, and we’ll talk about how to test for antibodies, and to follow these up with immune panels and specific antigen testing to discover the cause.
Both approaches are like throwing a sandwich to a man being attacked by a pack of wolves; even if your intent was to help him, he has bigger problems than hunger.
Let’s face it, if either traditional medical or the alternative models had any great percentage of success treating autoimmune disease, you wouldn’t be reading this book. Robert understood that it was “reasonable” that failure to discover the cause of thyroid destruction would lead to further destruction. He also saw that it was “reasonable” that someone ‘out there’ must be able to find out what was causing the destruction; and he thought that it was “reasonable” that if whatever was at cause for such destruction could be evaded, then it was “reasonable” that the destruction would at least slow down. He also reasoned that this deductive thought process would yield him success. Robert was a ‘man with a mission’ and his hard work and refusal to ‘own his disease’ led him to find the answers that would change his life forever!
When we look at any thyroid loss of function, we know that the metabolic rate of the person will decrease over time. We know that thyroid hormones have very powerful effects on controlling the metabolism which enables the body to attain homeostasis – a balance of health. This is why when people are truly hypothyroid, their cellular metabolic rate decreases, they cannot produce the energy in the mitochondria and they have a very hard time attaining a balance in their well-being; their response to viruses and bacteria may diminish, they struggle recovering after stress, just don’t feel as well as they used to and have very low energy. Many of these symptoms come on gradually and if the person is in their thirties or older when the attack takes its hold, they often chock it up to symptoms of aging.
We also know that when a person has thyroid problems they have a diminished gastrointestinal motility, with sluggish gastrointestinal tracts, and they’re often diagnosed with deficiencies in digestive enzymes when the reality is that the body doesn’t have enough metabolic capacity to move food along so there’s fermentation, bloating, gas and constipation. This leads to re-absorption of intestinal toxins and intestinal permeability. This problem is true for many other autoimmune conditions, since many end up attacking parasympathetic nervous centers in the brain that control peristaltic motion.
Another common lab finding with all autoimmune conditions and most certainly in Hashimoto’s patients is that their serum gastrin levels are low. This is an obvious sign of hypochlorhydria or a deceased production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. There exist strict influences between loss of thyroid activity and gut function.
We also know that when people are autoimmune, several anemias become more probable for developing. One of them is the microcytic hypochromic anemia associated with iron deficiency. Many times when people have low thyroid function, they become iron anemic because they lose ability to absorb iron (and a variety of other nutrients) due to the gut connection listed above. Their slowed intestinal motility has irritated the absorption sites in the small intestines and decreased the ability of enzyme reactions necessary in bringing these nutrients across the gut wall. The decreased intestinal motility also breeds biological attacks in the gut where opportunistic organisms take advantage of static food sources and wreak havoc. The decreased movement of fecal matter also leads to leaks in the gut membranes and systemic infections that remain ‘low-grade’ and sub-clinical. Then, to make matters worse, because their metabolic rates are down, these people don’t respond well to iron supplements and they often bring about further constipation and misery. What a mess!
Another type of anemia that is common with autoimmune patients are the normocytic-normochromic anemias. This is when the hemoglobin, hematocrit, and RBC levels are depressed but the MCV, MCH and MCHC are normal. Many things can cause normocytic-normochromic anemia, but one of the possibilities is always autoimmune disorder.
Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune attack against a chemical called Intrinsic Factor which is the agent personally responsible for the absorption of vitamin B12. It is not uncommon to see someone that has one autoimmune condition and pernicious anemia, another named autoimmune disease at the same time since the diagnosis of autoimmune disease is named after the organ it is attacking, and the attack has no end if the treatment is centered on suppressing symptoms.
How would the lab panels look to a traditional medical or alternative doctor that doesn’t understand that they are really dealing with an autoimmune mechanism: they diagnose the patient with primary hypothyroidism and B12 deficiency – thinking that they are dealing with two, separate and distinct disease processes. Though the next step should be to look for Intrinsic Factor antibodies along with thyroid antibodies, this step is often skipped yet, would be the telltale sign of an autoimmune response. Treatment with oral doses of B12 doesn’t work well if the problem is a lack of functioning Intrinsic Factor and if your doctor is thorough and re-tests to discover the B12 ‘deficiency’ still exists, B12 injections may be in order. This may solve the problem of the low lab tests for B12 but has done NOTHING for the autoimmune attack on Intrinsic Factor and the stomach where it is produced let alone the thyroid. So the cycle of chasing symptoms continues!
It is important to understand that an autoimmune disease is a ‘state’ that the immune system is in. It is NOT a disease of an organ; and even though it is given a multitude of names depending on the tissue currently affected, it is a STATE of the immune system attacking the tissue it was meant to protect.
We also know that when people have low thyroid activity, Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF1) levels seem to drop. We know that the hypothalamus-pituitary axis releases this Growth Hormone; that’s the part of the brain loop with the pituitary gland, also know as the ‘master gland’ since it stimulates so many other hormonal systems. Growth Hormone generated from the production of Insulin Growth Factor 1 then has all the positive anabolic effects on the physiological systems that we attribute to Growth Hormone such as youthful energy, slowed aging, faster healing and everything good about being young. So, when people have autoimmune conditions, they age faster, seem to lose energy quickly, they can’t recover after workouts if they still have the ability to force themselves to do such, and they just don’t feel well in general. Of course, they could probably find some ‘doctor’ to administer Growth Hormone injections for a price.
Another expression of autoimmune processes and Hashimoto’s altered thyroid activity involves neurotransmitter production and expression of the neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine. These are made in the adrenal glands that sit right above each kidney. They are another part of that hypothalamus-pituitary axis we spoke of. A change in the normal rhythm of release of the adrenals will eventually lead to depression, anxiety, and swings between the two. This leads to a struggle with the ability to handle emotional stress, process and sort consequences in difficult circumstances, etc. These integral expressions of the Frontal Lobe’s Pre-Frontal Cortex are dependant on neurotransmitter function. A decreased stimulation of these processes combined with a diminished oxygenation due to the iron anemia previously discussed is a vicious cycle that spirals the patient downwards. Though appropriate Brain Based therapies are beneficial for the firing into the neuronal centers, the inflammatory process must be stopped. We give these patients named diagnosises like ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, OCD and the likes.
The neurotransmitters that are typically involved here are epinephrine and norepinephrine but the secondary effects of Frontal Lobe function ultimately involves a more complex down-regulation of other neurotransmitter production centers and the patient slides downhill. Not only is there a decreased production but there is a decrease in the systemic function through a loss of sensitivity. It’s also a part of the reason that some hypothyroid patients have difficulty losing weight and why ADD, ADHD, anxiety and depression patients can’t control their moods. Epinephrine and norepinephrine stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of fats and aid in Frontal Lobe expression. When one loses the responsiveness of these neurotransmitters, they have a very hard time burning body fat despite the fact they may work out and exercise and consume far less calories than their workout partner. Discouragement sets in, combined with sloppy neurotransmitter receptivity in the frontal lobes, the patient often ends up on anti-depressants, chasing more symptoms and never addressing the cause. Again, never stop asking, “Why?”
Other things that are found with autoimmune processes are decreased hepatic (liver) and biliary (gallbladder and bile ducts) clearance. When we look at the detoxification pathways of the body we understand there exists Phase I and Phase II pathway. Both these phases are highly nutrient dependant and the Gastro-Intestinal disturbances, decreased gut motility, and decreased absorption rates in the autoimmune patient decreases the ability for them to do the very thing they NEED to get better – Detoxify!
Many have said, “You are what you eat.” More appropriately, “you are what you absorb.” Since one absorbs both nutrients and toxins through skin and through the lungs, diet is not the only way one might absorb vicious poisons. An even more appropriate statement might be, “You are what you do NOT detoxify!” Since the process of detoxification is taking place on a constant basis through these Phase I and Phase II pathways in the liver, it is what one CAN’T detoxify that becomes a part of us and makes us sick.
The purpose of these pathways may be simplified as the liver taking non-soluble solutions and chemicals and converting them to water soluble components that can then be expelled through the digestive tract, the urinary system, the skin via sweat, and the lungs. Problems come in with autoimmune disorders. Phase II conjugating enzymes can’t mature in autoimmune disorders and the detoxification potential over a period of time will be compromised. Compromise the detoxification pathways and the chance of the patient ridding them of the antigen that is causing this entire reaction goes down exponentially.
If we understand Hashimoto’s Disease, we can understand every autoimmune reaction. So what is autoimmune thyroid? Autoimmune thyroid disease is typically classified into two groups, Hashimoto and Graves'. Both Hashimoto's and Graves' can cause a hyper, or an overactive thyroid response, but it is Graves Disease that is dangerously overactive thyroid and Hashimoto’s that hovers low.
When someone has an overactive thyroid their blood testing will indicate a low Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and a high T4 and/or T3. These people typically have increased metabolic rates, symptoms like high anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, and heart palpitations, racing heart, and inward trembling. Though these symptoms may also be similar to a hyperactive adrenal state, both a Graves and a Hashimoto patient may experience these symptoms.
The difference between Hashimoto’s and Graves' is that Graves Disease always expresses itself as hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s patients are more typically hypothyroid; though they can experience some hyperthyroid symptoms like those listed above, more often those symptoms stem from subsequent adrenal dysfunction happening concurrently. Hashimoto’s patients ultimately experience hypothyroid symptoms which we have and will discuss in more detail.
Unfortunately, in the current healthcare system, these people typically don't get evaluated from an autoimmune perspective, which may be a hidden blessing since the traditional medical approach to autoimmune disorders is currently quite barbaric. Hashimoto's disease is far more common than Graves but both are autoimmune, i.e., caused by an immune attack against the tissue; they just have different outcomes. If you can understand the mechanism of the Hashimoto’s immune attack, then you can equate much of it to all autoimmune disorders.
Hashimoto’s is the most common cause for hypothyroidism in the United States and has been published and well accepted in the endocrinology literature, but often overlooked in traditional and alternative healthcare models as far as applications. In the alternative medicine model, hypothyroidism is blamed on things like iodine and tyrosine deficiencies and need for thyroid glandulars and though this has been our approach for quite some time, we really have not seen much success in this treatment. The traditional medical approach is hormone replacement. Neither model addresses the attack on the thyroid tissue and both are destined for disaster.
As in all autoimmune conditions, there is tissue destruction in Hashimoto’s; the reason their thyroid is not working is because their immune system is attacking the gland.
We first need to address the mechanism involved. All autoimmune diseases may have some type of genotypic component, i.e., there may be a latent gene that the individual has carried in an unexpressed state for a period of years until some ‘event’ that triggered a immune response suddenly ‘turned on’ the gene. If this exists, and the autoimmune disease truly has genetic components, the practitioner’s job is to rightly manage the patient to diminish the immune response and calming the attack. Once a gene is expressed, it will always stay ‘turned on’. We will walk you through procedures to keep it ‘calmed down’ to stop the destruction mode. Other processes can ‘turn on’ an autoimmune attack like environmental compounds, some types of endocrine imbalance, toxic chemical exposures, abnormal stress responses, antigen responses, as well as the person's preexisting genotype. So, the combination of all these things and some genetic susceptibility leads to an autoimmune disorder.
Usually the immune system is slowly attacking the tissue over several years. And then, the person eventually has a great enough destruction that brings about symptoms that lead them to seek some type of doctor. In the case of Hashimoto’s, they often get diagnosed with hypothyroidism because their TSH is high. And then, the TSH is managed by replacement but no management for the immune response is initiated because it was never assessed. In the case of other autoimmune disorders, the patient is often misdiagnosed for years, even decades; and they are left laden with multitudes of drugs attempting to suppress their symptoms.
The autoimmune response is an inflammatory response, which produces chemicals called cytokines, which are part of the body’s natural defense system against outside invaders. The body’s immune system may be separated into a Th1 and a Th2 response. The Th1 response may be thought of as the police force, the body’s initial strike force against an invader or what is called an antigen. When an antigen is present, the Th1 system fires and kills the virus; should the bug be of a nasty persuasion and strong enough to resist the Th1 response, the Th2 system kicks in, creates antibodies against the virus, tagging them so appropriate white blood cells can finish them off. A person with an autoimmune disease has this process stuck in the ‘on’ position, either hyper-Th1 or hyper-Th2, which prolonged, destroys the tissue where the antigen is recognized.
In Hashimoto’s, if the autoimmune disorder is hyper-Th1, certain types of lymphocytes and cytokines become ‘dominant’. This is an inflammatory, destructive response. These cytokines also block thyroid receptor sites from creating a proteomic response thereby making the hormone that is present, unresponsive; well, that stinks, even the hormone that IS present works worse! So, even when thyroid hormones bind to the receptor site, the actual proteins that impact metabolic rates are not produced rendering it inactive. This is why Hashimoto's patients, despite the fact they go on replacement, don't necessarily feel better after the ‘honeymoon’ period of a few weeks to several years because there's a defect created from the inflammatory immune response blocking the ability for the replacement hormones to have an effect on the receptor sites. This is why simply replacing the absent hormone doesn’t work!
Hence, both the traditional medical and the traditional alternative models of care are doomed to failure. The most important battle to fight is to calm down their immune response and stop the destruction.
The “new model” we are proposing is simply to be more specific. If an autoimmune disease is a hyper-Th1 or hyper-Th2 attack against an antigen, doesn’t it make sense to do everything possible to find out what the antigen is, attempt to remove it and calm down the Th1 or Th2 dominance? I’m no rocket scientist, but this makes sense to me. It’s logical and possible to find the specific biochemical pattern perpetrating the response so we can determine how we treat them.
Angela, a seventeen year old senior in high school has suffered her share of teenaged teasing. She started gaining weight in sixth grade and no matter what she has done to stop the process, the pounds have been adding up. Her mother and she have been in Weight Watchers 3 times, she’s tried Jenny Craig, joined a gym and even joined the school’s cross-country team, all leaving her discouraged, exhausted, and shamed. She has learned to live with her problem and excels in mathematics. She hopes to be a teacher some day. Angela’s parents are divorced and her mother partly blames her failed marriage on her daughter’s weight problems. She has taken Angela to the medical doctor but the simple and incomplete blood tests performed were “normal” and more shame was piled onto the heap of a stressed physiology.
Midway through her senior year, Angela’s mother was referred to a functional medicine doctor who ran a more complete thyroid panel, including TSH, T4, T3, reverseT3, T3 uptake, and thyroid antibodies. Suspecting an Autoimmune thyroid from the symptoms alone, the doctor also ordered a fecal parasitological test and stool and gene testing for soy, gluten, egg, casein, and yeast. The testing was expensive but the doctor seemed confident and Angela and her mother were ecstatic just to find someone who would take a thorough assessment of her situation.
It’s cases like this where I tell my patients that we HOPE something in the tests come back positive. We need to know what is going on in order to treat the patient. Discovery, the preparation before the battle, is the secret to winning the battle. While I was in college and professional school, I ‘earned a living’ painting houses over the summer. I’d walk door-to-door in the older neighborhoods of the sleepy, rural, river town I grew up in and asked homeowners if they needed any painting done. I was never short of work; one hundred year old houses are in constant need of repair. I learned quickly that to do the job right did not mean I needed to just slap some paint on the chipping lapboard. There were at least a dozen coats of color over that four inch siding and preparation for a new coat would be the biggest battle. It was the preparation that was the hardest work. Scraping aged paint down to smooth wood bloodied my knuckles and cramped my fingers. It didn’t take more than one under-bid job to realize that the preparation was going to take much longer than anticipated and cost me more than time.
I learned much from my summers of painting that equates to treating autoimmune conditions. Preparation is more than half the battle – you have to spend the time and money to discover the cause of the disorder. Dig until you find the gold!
Luckily for Angela, she found a doctor who never gave up. Her thyroid antibody test came back negative, which would indicate to most doctors that she was NOT autoimmune. But he knew that if she was autoimmune, Th1 dominant, her hyper-firing Th1 system would be suppressing the Th2 antibody production – she still may be a Hashimoto’s patient, the digging didn’t stop. Specific cytokine testing was ordered while they waited for the results of the stool antigen and gene tests. Sure enough, Th1 cytokines were elevated and a CD4:CD8 ratio was imbalanced; Angela is suffering from an autoimmune disease! That week the stool testing results came back and at least one antigen was identified – Angela was autoimmune gluten! She carried two gluten genes and they were both expressed (turned-on).
Finally some answers. A detailed plan of elimination, detoxification, and Th1/Th2 immune regulation could be undergone. Angela’s doctor (and new best friend) made sure that further testing to determine the effect on other tissue was done so he could support every down-regulated system to give her the most comprehensive support possible and the greatest chance of success.
Angela and her mother had similar questions, concerns, and frustrations regarding their problem that we see from most patients: “Why didn’t my doctor test for this?” “Why wouldn’t anyone else believe me?” Believe me when I say that we’ve even had patients take their test results back to their primary care doctors to be told that they are crazy and the problem is all in their head. I’ve seen doctors even have the gall to write them a prescription for Prozac on the spot. What is wrong with these people!? It’s like a painter slapping another coat of paint over chipping wood – it will look good at a distance but just another example of shoddy work.
Although there are numerous different named autoimmune diseases, each with its own unique symptoms depending on the tissues being attacked, autoimmune diseases do share some common characteristics. The following core characteristics are experienced by the majority of sufferers of autoimmune disease symptoms: