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Rachna Chhachhi

Rachna Chhachhi is a certified holistic cancer coach and a nutritional therapist. She works across 21 countries to treat patients for cancer, autoimmune and lifestyle related diseases.

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Is It Your Immune System?

Our immune systems are supposed to protect us. Autoimmune conditions mean that they attack us. Fix your immunity before your immune system turns against you

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Chronic fatigue. Restlessness. Unexplained pains. Forgetfulness. Inability to wake up. Frequent coughs or colds. Allergies. Skin rashes. Do any of these sound familiar? If yes, then your immune system could be gearing up to attack you.

Autoimmune disorders are supposed to be rare and incurable as per doctors, but off late, I have seen a huge spurt in these conditions in all age groups. And the most frightening part is, the trigger is seeming more and more like stress.

Autoimmune conditions can be classified in two ways: the milder ones that we all see around us — asthma, allergies, skin eczema, frequent colds — and the more chronic diseases — like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis etc. There are over a 100 such conditions, and many medical experts don’t link the two, but since 70 per cent of my base of patients is severe autoimmune cases, I see the link on a daily basis. These conditions are supposed to afflict 1 per cent of the population, but the number is increasing much more. And flare-ups are linked to stress and lack of rest and sleep, which only goes on to prove that the increase in cases is easily linked to an increase in lack of rest and increase in stress levels. So how can you protect yourself from getting an autoimmune condition? Here are a few steps:

Check your blood work: If you’ve had all the check ups done, and nothing seems to be wrong but fatigue and pains won’t go, accompanied with brain fog, it’s time to get some autoimmune tests done. Go to a rheumatologist and get tests like Anti-CCP, ANA, HLA-B27, inflammation markers and other very specific tests done to rule out an autoimmune disease. The rheumatologist will guide you as per your symptoms on what tests to do.

Listen to your body: Sometimes, you maybe a sero-negative case, which means that your tests are negative but symptoms are positive. I have treated many such cases where patients go from doctor to doctor with nothing to show in their test results, and yet suffer pain, fatigue and mental confusion, while friends, relatives and loved ones dismiss them as saying that they just need to cope better and move on with life.

Fix your lifestyle: Irrespective of what anyone tells you, I have seen lifestyle changes completely change the quality of life of people suffering unexplained pains or other autoimmune symptoms or even a full fledged autoimmune condition (I suffered rheumatoid arthritis myself and I came out of with lifestyle changes despite deformities to show). Start eating more raw virgin oils, raw nuts, raw fruits, salads with extra virgin olive oil, eliminate gluten and dairy if there is unexplained undiagnosed pain and brain fog, and start exercising. You may start with gentle yoga and relaxing pranayamas, and move to more vigorous exercises later, but start movement. Systemic diseases are affected by poor circulation and oxygen, get your circulation going and get oxygen into your body via breathing techniques, to decrease symptoms and increase energy levels.

Rest & relax: This sounds unimportant or easy, but is the most important pillar in fixing yourself, no matter what the problem is. I have seen chronic cases of autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis avoid medication completely if they just rest and de-stress more. The immune system is compromised during stress, and will crumble with even a minor attack. Calm it down, and it will begin it’s job — that of protecting you instead of attacking you.

Yes, our immune systems are supposed to protect us. Autoimmune conditions mean that they attack us. Fix your immunity before your immune system turns against you.

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opinion magazine 27 may 2017 healthcare