Modern medicine has given us many new technologies that have brought better health and longer life to many. However, modern medicine has also increased our reliance on the latest drugs for our maladies. Instead of finding the root causes of our illnesses, we simply treat the symptoms with pharmaceuticals.
Chronic pain and autoimmune illnesses rank among the top health concerns that we often treat with drugs rather than look for the underlying cause. These medications do not make illnesses go away. They merely mask the symptoms and can have serious side effects of their own leading to yet more drugs to treat those symptoms. And the cycle goes on and on. It seems there must be a better way to approach chronic pain and autoimmune illnesses than the rows and rows of pill bottles stacking up in our medicine cabinets.
Thankfully, there is a better way. Gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, malt and rye, may be the culprit of you chronic pain and autoimmune illnesses. You can easily treat these by simply eliminating gluten from your diet.
Gluten and Autoimmune Diseases
Many people have undiagnosed gluten intolerance, which triggers an autoimmune response. Auto-Immune disease is the #1 cause of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world. Musculoskeletal disease includes much more than just mechanical imbalances. The causes are multifactorial, as are the treatments. The initiation and early development of auto-immune disease requires a triad of factors which includes environmental triggers. The most prevalent and common environmental trigger today is the food we eat, especially gluten. If you have gluten intolerance, your body can't digest this protein. Your body sees it as a pathogen and begins to attack itself in an effort to eradicate the pathogen from your body. This can lead to a wide variety of autoimmune related health problems such as inflammation, thyroid problems, psoriasis and eczema, Hashimoto's disease, a wide range of digestive issues, and fibromyalgia, among others.
In addition to triggering an autoimmune response, gluten also causes other health problems. As gluten passes through your body and into your intestines, the gluten protein damages the villi in your intestines. The prime function of intestinal villi is to absorb nutrients into your body. When your villi are damaged, you are not getting what you need from your food. This can cause further health problems such as anemia and chronic fatigue.
The traditional medical community typically responds to these chronic pain, autoimmune and nutrition related health problems through drugs that treat the symptoms. Thyroid medications for thyroid malfunctions. Anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammation and chronic pain. Iron supplements for anemia. Steroid creams for eczema and psoriasis.
However, if you have a gluten intolerance, these drugs and treatments will not be effective because each time you eat gluten, you simply perpetuate the cycle. The drugs fight a constant battle against an ever present poison in your body and the drugs will never win.
A Better Way
Forward thinking doctors and scientists have proven the clear link between gluten, autoimmune illnesses and chronic pain. However, too many doctors in the traditional medical field still fail to adequately test or even look for signs of gluten intolerance in patients with autoimmune illnesses. Many doctors still think the only indicators of gluten intolerance are related to celiac sprue, just one of the ailments caused by gluten intolerance.
We live in a day and age, though, were patients can and do stand up for themselves. If you have struggled for years with an autoimmune illness or chronic pain, have tried all the drugs and then some, and still do not know the underlying cause of your health troubles, then it is time to start asking about gluten intolerance.
Testing for gluten antibodies has progressed in recent years and more and more doctors are starting to understand the nuances of gluten intolerance, thanks in part to the current gluten free diet trend.
Modern medicine has given us much, but sometimes, traditional doctors can't see the forest for the trees. Chronic pain and a cabinet full of medicines that do not work does not have to be your fate. It's time to find out the cause of your pain and take measures to heal your body.
The latest numbers indicate that as many as one in every 5 people
(yes, that's right) have some form of gluten-sensitivity.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2010 Jun;14(6):567-72
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