menu 919-999-0831

Autoimmunity: Why is my immune system attacking me?

Frances Meredith, MD

All of us either have a family member or friend who suffers with autoimmunity, a condition where our immune system wrongly targets us. Perhaps you yourself are part of this very popular club, affecting people at younger and younger ages. Generations ago there might have one uncle with “rheumatism” in your family, or a grandmother whose “joints hurt when it rains”. Today these cases are commonplace, as are the many other faces of autoimmunity from Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, to lupus, to multiple sclerosis. So what is autoimmunity, why is it affecting so many of us, and what can we do to stop the “self-attack”?

Autoimmunity occurs when our finely tuned immune system, designed to defend against foreign invaders ranging from food borne bacteria to pandemic viruses, turns against us. Unfortunately, many with autoimmunity are frustrated with lack of a clear diagnosis. Traditional medicine looks to fit us into neat diagnostic boxes, which frequently do not apply. It is clear to those who see many autoimmune patients that the majority of those who suffer from chronic illness over years, feeling unheard by their providers, searching for answers from multiple doctors who scratch their heads, represent this type of self-attack.

Why would such an intelligent immune system turn against us?  Imagine the confusion of your protective army as it heeds the call to attack its own castle. And how do we bring our defense system back to its original function: to make decisions as we interact with our environment, deciding what is friend vs what is foe and mounting an appropriate response, but not to attack us?

A more esoteric view of autoimmunity emphasizes that we are not separate from our immune systems. You are your immune system. You are creating it, and impacting its ability to function optimally every day by the choices you make. The salient question is “If I am my immune system, where did the communication go wrong? What messages am I sending to make me turn upon myself?”

The answers to these questions are complex, and very individual. Autoimmunity, first, requires susceptible genetics. These genetic vulnerabilities are then activated by certain lifestyle triggers. Your Functional Medicine provider assesses this by creating a “Personal Autoimmune Trigger Blueprint”. These triggers range from reactive foods to infections, toxins, vaccines, childhood trauma, concussion, blood sugar, high stress, lack of sleep such as with sleep apnea, and low levels of key nutrients for optimal immune function. Addressing these triggers while optimizing immune nutrients and plant based supportive supplements allow the immune system to regain balance. The goal is to get our autoimmunity into remission. We see patients achieve remission every day as they address their triggers, support their body, and see the results in declining antibody levels and, more importantly, in feeling better.

We at Carolina Total Wellness are experienced in a broad range of autoimmunity, not only the ones with names you recognize, but also those not yet defined by a lab test from a Rheumatologist. We would be honored to walk with you on this journey of understanding and regaining immune balance.

Your Partner In Health,

Frances Meredith, MD


Sara Yadlowsky, FMHC

Many of us have too much glucose (blood sugar) in our system and are not aware of it.  Glucose enters our bloodstream mainly through the sweet or starchy foods we eat.  The conventional medicine community has taught for many years that unless you are diabetic or pre-diabetic your blood sugar levels are not important.  However, more recent, cutting-edge science and the increased use of continuous glucose monitors (CGM’s) have proven that everyone needs to pay more attention to glucose levels.   A CGM is a small device that attaches to the back of your arm and monitors blood glucose on a continuous basis.  You can obtain a CGM through a prescription or purchase one online through websites such as Signos, Veri and Nutrisense.  I wore a CGM for several weeks recently and found it very informative in understanding how my food choices affect my blood sugar levels.  For example, I realized how breaking my fast with a low carb meal was very helpful in avoiding the spike that can occur after fasting for 16 hours.
Symptoms of uncontrolled glucose can include fatigue, food cravings and brain fog.  Long term effects of uncontrolled glucose can include hormonal dysfunction, acne, wrinkles and infertility.  Over time the development of type 2 diabetes, cancer, dementia, PCOS and heart disease can occur.
There are several easy modifications you can make to your diet that flatten the glucose curve that occurs after eating.  These modifications include:

  • Eating fiber first.  Have your vegetables before your protein and/or starch.
  • Ingesting apple cider vinegar before eating carbs
  • Avoiding sugar on an empty stomach.  Have it after a meal instead.
  • Getting some type of movement in after eating a meal high in carbs.  A walk or even just some air squats will do.

There is a new book out about blood glucose called The Glucose Revolution written by Jessie Inchauspe.  The author goes into depth about the huge impact glucose has on our health.  She then presents several ways to control our blood sugar more effectively.  The book also includes tips on how to handle cravings, better choices in alcohol and how to read ingredient labels.
Jessie Inchauspe has an Instagram account (glucosegoddess) that continues the education on controlling glucose and gives lots of actional advice. This may help provide you with some motivation to jump start a healthier lifestyle in 2023.  Our health coaches and physicians at Carolina Total Wellness are also always available to provide you with personalized advice on improved blood sugar control.

In health,
Sara Yadlowsky, FMHC

Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a science-based health care approach to assess, prevent and treat complex chronic disease.

Answers to frequently asked questions provided by Carolina Total WellnessLearn More

Allergy Testing & Drops

After a brief allergy test, you can begin sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), or allergy drops under the tongue. No more allergy shots!

learn more about Allergy testing and drops provided by [VAR_PRACTICE_NAME]Learn More

About Your Visit

Learn how to prepare for your visit and what to expect at your initial consultation and at your follow-up visits with our office.

What to expect at your appointment with Carolina Total WellnessLearn More

facebook icon twitter icon instagram icon