The Autoimmune Epidemic Info

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Hailed by Mark Hyman, MD, as “a ray of light and
hope” for autoimmune sufferers, this groundbreaking book provides
research and solutions for those affected by autoimmune disorders
including Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis,
and more.

In the first book of its kind, journalist Donna Jackson
Nakazawa examines nearly 100 debilitating autoimmune
diseases—such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease,
type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis—that cause the body to
destroy itself, mistakenly attacking healthy cells as the immune system
fights off bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. As Nakazawa share the
vivid, heartbreaking stories, including her own, of people living with
these mysterious, chronic, and often hard-to-diagnose illnesses, she
explores the alarming and unexpected connection between this deadly
crisis and the countless environmental triggers we’re exposed to
every day: heavy metals, toxins, pesticides, viruses, chemicals in the
foods we eat, and more.

With the help of leading experts,
Nakazawa explores revolutionary preventions, treatments, and cures
emerging around the world and offers practical advice for protecting
your immune system and reducing your risk of autoimmune disease in the
future.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Autoimmune Epidemic:

5

Mar 27, 2008

I highly recommend this book for anyone w/autoimmune disorders OR anyone who is interested in the impact of our world becoming increasingly toxic and chemical. . . In fact, I'd recommend this to anyone who has food or other allergies, asthma or anyone who has KIDS . . . . or anyone interested in medical mysteries. Thoroughly researched and documented . . . a very interesting read.
5

Jul 12, 2012

Living with Crohn's Disease and awaiting a possible Lupus diagnosis, Nakazawa's The Autoimmune Epidemic proved to be both enlightening in its evidence based argument of the environmental causes and pathophysiology of autoimmune disease as well as shocking in its presentation of heartbreaking anecdotes and expose of the hidden killers that are pervasive in our everyday lives. Readers with and even those without autoimmune diseases will undoubtedly rethink the way we approach diet and lifestyle Living with Crohn's Disease and awaiting a possible Lupus diagnosis, Nakazawa's The Autoimmune Epidemic proved to be both enlightening in its evidence based argument of the environmental causes and pathophysiology of autoimmune disease as well as shocking in its presentation of heartbreaking anecdotes and expose of the hidden killers that are pervasive in our everyday lives. Readers with and even those without autoimmune diseases will undoubtedly rethink the way we approach diet and lifestyle after reading this book. In the final chapter, Ms. Nakazawa presents a guideline of basic changes we can make in an attempt to avoid or reduce the symptoms of already-present autoimmune diseases. As the incidence rates and diagnoses of these disease continue to increase at an exponential rate, we can no longer afford to ignore the growing body of evidence, put forth clearly by the Autoimmune Epidemic, that ties genetics, diet, environment and lifestyle with autoimmune disease.

Of special interest to me was the evidence presented on the proven connection of the modern Western diet, filled with processed and preserved foods, refined sugar, saturated fat and gluten proteins with the onset and progression of these diseases. I am a gluten-free blogger, based in Atlanta, and hope all of my devoted fans will pick up a copy of The Autoimmune Epidemic!

This is a must-read! ...more
5

Dec 27, 2010

I read it because I have an autoimmune disease, but everyone would benefit from a quick read.
The number of people in the USA who have an autoimmune disease outnumber Cancer patients, or Heart disease patients. Research has confirmed that chemicals - industrial, man-made chemicals - are causing many if not all autoimmunity. I worked around a solvent that (as I found out later), that has been shown to trigger my disease.
A co-worker has the same disease (Maybe more, I'm not in touch).
But this I read it because I have an autoimmune disease, but everyone would benefit from a quick read.
The number of people in the USA who have an autoimmune disease outnumber Cancer patients, or Heart disease patients. Research has confirmed that chemicals - industrial, man-made chemicals - are causing many if not all autoimmunity. I worked around a solvent that (as I found out later), that has been shown to trigger my disease.
A co-worker has the same disease (Maybe more, I'm not in touch).
But this same stuff is in ground-water. You drink it, breath it when you take a hot shower.
Other nasty stuff is in our food. Nothing changes overnight - but the book does give some hope, and
ideas to avoid much of the chemicals we now are exposed to in our diets. ...more
3

Jul 13, 2008

Scary stuff... Throw away all your furniture and plastic and stay away from processed foods.

This book needs editing, but contains some good facts. I wouldn't call it light reading, because the subject matter is not light... I recommend for people who don't mind overuse of bad metaphors, but want a very superficial understanding of autoimmune disease.

I fear its emphasis on medical research, especially genetics, detracts from the larger message that we have created a world full of plastic and Scary stuff... Throw away all your furniture and plastic and stay away from processed foods.

This book needs editing, but contains some good facts. I wouldn't call it light reading, because the subject matter is not light... I recommend for people who don't mind overuse of bad metaphors, but want a very superficial understanding of autoimmune disease.

I fear its emphasis on medical research, especially genetics, detracts from the larger message that we have created a world full of plastic and chemicals that are killing us. I'd rather see us clean up the world that is poisoning our bodies. ...more
5

Mar 15, 2013

This book was one of the highly educational ones that I have read. Recently I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and I did not know how or why it happened. But as I read this book it helped to explain what was going on and why. Also, it helped to realize that while there is no cure there are ways to live green and to keep a person safe while being treated with this disorder.
5

Dec 01, 2012

Out of all the books that I've read on autoimmune diseases, this one is the most informative. The topics that I so often dwell upon and obsess over are all discussed and with extensive evidence, citation and sensitivity. These topics include chemical toxicity, Vitamin D, vaccinations, adrenaline, emotional sludge, stress, and of course the workings of the immune system. I really feel this book as a value to my education and outreach in researching and learning about the autoimmune disease I was Out of all the books that I've read on autoimmune diseases, this one is the most informative. The topics that I so often dwell upon and obsess over are all discussed and with extensive evidence, citation and sensitivity. These topics include chemical toxicity, Vitamin D, vaccinations, adrenaline, emotional sludge, stress, and of course the workings of the immune system. I really feel this book as a value to my education and outreach in researching and learning about the autoimmune disease I was diagnosed with eight and a half years ago - lupus. Lupus is mentioned a lot and by a lot I mean almost in every section. Since lupus is one of the more common autoimmune diseases it gets a front seat in this book - which I love. I was so excited to read about the condition, and the theories I have to what have contributed to my immune system going awry, while reinforcing my own feelings and analysis on my specific case. Overall, I recommend this book to people with and without autoimune disease. This book is for everyone. Although the book is not wrapped up succinctly, and the conclusion a little cheesy - I believe the in-between moments are eye-opening and respectable to the point of changing lives. ...more
5

Feb 13, 2008

I started reading the book in the middle, because I was flipping through it at the library. I was perusing the new nonfiction to just catch up on what we had, and I started reading about a swarm of lupus cases in one neighborhood. I wanted to know why, so I kept reading until the end. Then I went back and read the first half of the book. It is very good, well-researched, and very scary. However, I cannot find a reference in the book for the statement the author makes that hair dye increases the I started reading the book in the middle, because I was flipping through it at the library. I was perusing the new nonfiction to just catch up on what we had, and I started reading about a swarm of lupus cases in one neighborhood. I wanted to know why, so I kept reading until the end. Then I went back and read the first half of the book. It is very good, well-researched, and very scary. However, I cannot find a reference in the book for the statement the author makes that hair dye increases the chances of developing lupus. She talks about data, but never references back to where she found this data. Perhaps I missed something and it's there. I rather want to dye my hair anyway, though. ...more
5

Mar 12, 2008

excellent resources in the book for those with (or who know someone with) an autoimmune disease. Worth reading just for the chapter on autoimmune disease in the East Ferry neighborhood in Buffalo. please think again if you think the government (example FDA) really gives a rats ass about people. scary info at http://www.epa.gov/enviro/emef
.
5

May 11, 2011

I purchased this book after a recent rash of autoimmune flares had me in bed and unable to walk without pain for 20 out of 60 days. I never realized how much of an impact diet, stress and environment have on my condition until I started reading this book. It has inspired me to change my diet and start thinking about the environment that I live in and how it is affecting my health. The exact mechanisms that trigger autoimmunity are not completely understood, but toxins in industrial chemicals, I purchased this book after a recent rash of autoimmune flares had me in bed and unable to walk without pain for 20 out of 60 days. I never realized how much of an impact diet, stress and environment have on my condition until I started reading this book. It has inspired me to change my diet and start thinking about the environment that I live in and how it is affecting my health. The exact mechanisms that trigger autoimmunity are not completely understood, but toxins in industrial chemicals, heavy metals and some drugs are thought to trigger the autoimmune process in individuals who are already predisposed to autoimmunity. Over 20% of Americans suffer from some form of autoimmune disease and that number is on the rise. Reading this book has taught me that I need to start putting a lot more thought into changing my lifestyle to prevent further attacks or the onset of another autoimmune related disease.





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4

Sep 24, 2008

This book talks about the variety of reasons which may contribute to the rise in various autoimmune diseases, but ends on a very positive note, highlighting some progress being made in the field. The biggest downside is that funding for research is too limited, so progress is slow.
4

Jan 21, 2013

Hands down the most comprehensive, informative book on the rising autoimmune diagnosises and their many complexities. Shocking and scary from a medical and social perspective. A lot of medical research and data. The author does tend to over cover topics long after a point has been driven home.
4

Oct 11, 2019

4.5 stars

This book was exactly what I needed to read at the right time. I've been fighting with autoimmune issues for several years and can especially relate to the author's stories of bizarre symptoms (especially for my age) and the seemingly neverending appointments with new specialists but coming home with no answers except useless suggestions to get more sleep (I had 3 children four and younger at the time!), have less stress and get a better bra! I even had one Rheumatologist who'd rather 4.5 stars

This book was exactly what I needed to read at the right time. I've been fighting with autoimmune issues for several years and can especially relate to the author's stories of bizarre symptoms (especially for my age) and the seemingly neverending appointments with new specialists but coming home with no answers except useless suggestions to get more sleep (I had 3 children four and younger at the time!), have less stress and get a better bra! I even had one Rheumatologist who'd rather debate me on the merits of homeschooling my children rather than looking into my symptoms! It took me several years of enduring pain, exhaustion and conventional medicine's ignorance until I got to the root of my problem with a naturopath - Epstein Bar Virus and all the autoimmune issues brought on with it.

Fast forward a few years and now my darling 10 year old daughter is going through a similar situation. Unexplainable pains and swelling, odd red dots all over her legs, exhaustion and nausea. Luckily I knew which sort of doctor to take her to when her pediatrician was baffled and she was diagnosed with 2 autoimmune issues - Henoch Scholein Pupura and Vasculitis. We both have a long and hard road ahead of us.

This book was extremely thorough in its scope of the why and the how of the insane increase of autoimmune diseases in the past 40 years. It mixes personal stories in with scientific research and fact. The only reason I took a half star away was for the lack of how to treat naturally. There was a section in the last chapter regarding vitamin supplements however it seemed to have an underlying tone of skepticism to it. I can personally attest to the validity of herbal and homeopathic remedies for treatment of autoimmune issues as it has been the ONLY route to relief for my daughter and I. Overall this was a very enlightening, albeit frightening, look into how our bodies are going haywire in today's modern world. ...more
1

Dec 16, 2015

The author seems to think that to get an autoimmune disease one needs
1 the wrong genes
2 to be female
3 to be exposed to chemicals
4 to be exposed to certain viruses
5. more stuff...

If Mr Occam was alive today, he'd take his razor to this pile of babel.

The one thing the author is sure doesn't cause AI disease,
is the Hygiene Hypothesis.

In a recent book: An epidemic of absence,
that author make a very compelling case that overly hygienic conditions in the 20th century is the main cause.

To The author seems to think that to get an autoimmune disease one needs
1 the wrong genes
2 to be female
3 to be exposed to chemicals
4 to be exposed to certain viruses
5. more stuff...

If Mr Occam was alive today, he'd take his razor to this pile of babel.

The one thing the author is sure doesn't cause AI disease,
is the Hygiene Hypothesis.

In a recent book: An epidemic of absence,
that author make a very compelling case that overly hygienic conditions in the 20th century is the main cause.

To discredit the HH theory the author talks with a junior scientist who is working with a group of senior scientists who are trying to prove that viruses cause AI diseases.

Of course someone who is devoting years of work to prove one idea
is not likely to support some other idea.

The 2 women sit around saying, common sense says...

and it stands to reason that....

They think because kids get as many colds now as kids 50-100 years ago
that proves their immune systems are properly challenged.

Most of the "reasoning" in the book is very simplistic.

Also the author makes a big deal about "clusters" of disease,
she ignores the fact that for every cluster of disease,
there is a cluster of NO disease.
No one notices that tho.

That the way things work out when things are random.

Try flipping a coin 20 times, does it come up heads 10 times every time?
and tails 10 times every time?
NO, random events run in streaks or clusters.









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5

Aug 20, 2019

The smoking gun? The canary in the coal mine?

What is causing the unprecedented and alarming increase in the number of people with autoimmune diseases in recent years? What is causing the frightening rise in the number of children with autism? In this painstakingly researched and thoroughly documented book, Donna Jackson Nakazawa makes the case that pollution is the culprit. She argues convincingly that levels of pollution below those allowed by government standards enter our bodies and confuse The smoking gun? The canary in the coal mine?

What is causing the unprecedented and alarming increase in the number of people with autoimmune diseases in recent years? What is causing the frightening rise in the number of children with autism? In this painstakingly researched and thoroughly documented book, Donna Jackson Nakazawa makes the case that pollution is the culprit. She argues convincingly that levels of pollution below those allowed by government standards enter our bodies and confuse our immune systems into attacking our own cells.

The case is not however proven by scientific standards. Although the circumstantial evidence is persuasive, it may take many years for the scientific proof to manifest itself. But you and I do not have to wait that long. A question that might be asked is, what else can it be? The rise in autoimmune disease is clearly correlated with the rise in man-made and man-delivered chemicals into the environment. What we need to do now is elect representatives who will enact legislation that will sharply reduce the number and amount of chemicals being dumped into our rivers, streams and oceans, that will stop the feeding of noxious substance and hormones to our animals, and that will switch from burning fossils fuels to more sustainable and non-polluting alternatives. We need to make the transition from Big Agriculture with its pesticides and its weed killers to small cooperative organic farming methods. The health costs to our people are now enormous and growing. We cannot expect bottom-line driven corporations to voluntarily give up besmirching the environment and poisoning our children. They have to be stopped through the force of law.

Meanwhile, we as individuals need to reject highly processed foods and being super-sized. We need to reward close to home organic farmers and think slow food, not fast food. We need to stay away from MacDonald's and the Burger King. We need to give up the automobile and embrace mass transit and the bicycle. We need to leave the asphalt jungle and return to the Garden of Eden. We need stop stock-piling armaments and use our resources to fight disease and poverty. We need to reduce the sheer numbers of humans on this planet and allow not only more open space but more wild and agrarian space. We need to wake up in the morning and look out over greenery and clear, flowing waters, not concrete and steel, asphalt and the brown haze.

But wait. How can we do this? We can't. At least we can't do it anytime soon. It will take a gargantuan effort, greater than the resources put into World War II, into the space race, and into the Cold War combined to bring about the kind of changes that will stop the epidemic. First we will need to educate the general populace about what needs to be done. The vast majority of people have no idea what is happening. Most of us are living in a kind of willful ignorance about what we are doing to the planet and ultimately to ourselves. We need to get the short-sighted to see the world through the eyes of their grandchildren. We need to wrest power from pathological corporations, and put it in the hands of people who care.

Again, how do we do this?

It is a race between understanding and ignorance, between the side of human nature that uses its intelligence to see the present objectively and to imagine the future, and the side of human nature that is blind and fearful, that yields to the authority of special interests and wallows in ignorance.

Can we win this race? Nakazawa thinks we can and presents a strategy in the concluding chapter for shielding our immune systems from noxious chemicals and from stress and negative emotions. But what about that dark cloud drifting over the Pacific Ocean from the coal fires and the dust storms and chemical dumps in China? What can we do about THAT?

We, to our shame have elected know-nothings like George W. Bush, who has installed in his government legions of people dedicated to the increase of pollution and the wanton use of weapons and armies and gas-guzzlers to continue the destruction of the planet. We can only hope that our children and their children do a better job at governance, because at most we have perhaps two generations left before the world falls into a kind of horror of nature out of balance and of people at each other's throats to save what little is left for themselves.

The autoimmune epidemic is the canary in the coal mine. Unless we change our ways, it's going to get worse, much worse, so that on a clear day we will be able to see the smoke along Lincoln County Road as it leads to Armageddon.

--Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”
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3

Oct 24, 2017

I can't claim to "like" this book. It scared me.

But compared to another book I read on the same topic, as I began doing more research into my autoimmune condition(s), this one was much more researched-based. The narrative journalism style also made it much more of an engaging read --though not a fun one. I have to admit I skipped/skimmed several parts, too. But unlike other authors, this one actually convinced me to consider the possibility that diet, environmental toxins, and stress could I can't claim to "like" this book. It scared me.

But compared to another book I read on the same topic, as I began doing more research into my autoimmune condition(s), this one was much more researched-based. The narrative journalism style also made it much more of an engaging read --though not a fun one. I have to admit I skipped/skimmed several parts, too. But unlike other authors, this one actually convinced me to consider the possibility that diet, environmental toxins, and stress could possibly be contributing to my mysterious symptoms.

More thoughts on this book, and a few related others, on my blog: https://thankthatshtandletitgo.wordpr... ...more
5

Nov 12, 2019

Absolutely fantastic !

Well researched and thorough. This was an excellent primer for me to gain an understanding of autoimmune diseases. I would love to read a follow up book on this topic.
3

Jun 30, 2017

I got this book from the library. I do believe that toxins and hazardous waste can cause all sort of diseases, however this book is not updated anymore. I should have checked the date of the edition before reading.
5

Dec 30, 2017

Autoimmunity

Well written summary of relevant research informs the reader to understand and take action for one’s health and greater resilience.
1

Feb 26, 2016

The ONLY reason this book received 1 star instead of 0 stars is because at least she got her basic history right when it came to the basic research of autoimmune diseases. From the discovery of the fact that yes, it was possible for our immune systems to attack each other in rodent studies (confirming how Hashimoto's disease works), to how specialists seem to split up autoimmune diseases based on how they affected the body (Chron's and other IBDs were claimed by gastroenterologists, RA and Lupus The ONLY reason this book received 1 star instead of 0 stars is because at least she got her basic history right when it came to the basic research of autoimmune diseases. From the discovery of the fact that yes, it was possible for our immune systems to attack each other in rodent studies (confirming how Hashimoto's disease works), to how specialists seem to split up autoimmune diseases based on how they affected the body (Chron's and other IBDs were claimed by gastroenterologists, RA and Lupus were claimed by rheumatologists, MS was claimed by neurologists, and Hashimoto's and Graves Disease were claimed by usually endocrinologists or rheumatologists.) Brushing up on the brief history of AIs is never a bad thing. The rest of the book, well, let's just say I'm not one who's for advocating burning books, but this one might end up in my fire pit in a few months.
As someone with multiple autoimmune diseases myself, it's natural to want to know what caused these problems. What made my body, and the immune system of those like me, to decide one day to turn against us? I have been searching for those same answers for well over 15 years myself, and in many of those same places--including John's Hopkins. In fact, I have followed much of their research very closely over the years.
I will start off by saying she is inconsistent at best. Genetics don't play a role at all in autoimmune diseases, then they play a tiny role, then they play a 30% role or more. (You can figure that one out.) There is an epidemic because of the serious increase in diagnosed autoimmune diseases--but it's not from better screening practices. Yet, even in the history, she contradicts herself and continues to do so throughout the book. Doctors didn't know what these diseases were, then they did, but didn't believe them, yet it can take 10-15 years to receive a diagnosis and many patients can see up to 6 doctors or more before receiving a diagnosis. But screening, awareness, and the like aren't better than they were even 40 years ago. Again, I'll leave that up to you to figure out what she's trying to say.
This woman couldn't be further off base if she tried. She cherry picks data from studies and from what she is told, twists it, turns it, and manipulates it until it fits into what she wants it to say. Does toxic waste (from when chemical companies played fast and loose with dumping rules) play a role? It very well could, but there is no solid evidence to say yes. Even in her Lupus Cluster example in East Ferry, NY, there is a strong correlation between the toxic waste sites and the spike in Lupus, but there isn't a shred of scientific proof. (Remember boys and girls, correlation does not equal causation.) I have followed the studies out of JH (John's Hopkins) and other top universities very closely when it comes to Benzene, PCBs, and VOCs and their link to autoimmune diseases, but the proof just isn't there, despite how desperately she wants you to believe it.
Then there is her "toxinz, toxinz everywhere!" speil. This kind of fallacy exists to this day--from what we use to clean our houses, our yards, wash our hair, clothes, bodies, and even in our makeup and food. It's as if the only way to avoid this evil conspiracy from Big Manufacturer/Big Ag/Big Chemical is to cook our own food, make our own soap, and go back to the basics. Even bottled water isn't safe! All of it is false. Especially alarming is the false claims regarding how "safe" organic farming is--yes, they do use pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides on their crops too and if anything, most are applied in higher quantities and are more dangerous than conventional farming.
Just a quick note about twisting studies: she makes mention about how schizophrenia has been caused by a virus. Yes and no. The actual studies have revealed that if the mother contracts a specific virus (cytomegalovirus, or CMV) during pregnancy) and the child has a specific genetic mutation, there is approximately a 5% increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. Not quite what she says, though, is it? Just like blaming Epstein Barr Virus on Lupus. 90% of the population has been exposed to EBV and has had it at one point or another. But I digress.
She then goes on to blame vaccines. Yep. Vaccines. And that gets worse, because the vaccine/autism link is dragged back in and it's a conspiracy. But wait! There are studies to back that up! Except the scientist uses inorganic mercury (methyl mercury) as opposed to ethyl mercury (what is found in thimerosal--the stuff found in SOME vaccines and is expelled from the body. (Never mix your ethyls and your methyls. Think alcohol).
Finally, she concludes with "debunking" a theory that we now live in an environment that is "too clean." I don't even know what to say to that one. ...more
4

Dec 04, 2014

I have mixed feelings about this book, but on the whole, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who's interested in autoimmune disease.

It was actually quite well researched. However, the footnotes are not annotated within the text, so while I was reading along, it SEEMED like an awful lot of generalities and assumptions and made-up statistics with no studies to back it up. Only after I finished did I find the footnotes, many of which do provide hard data to back up the somewhat esoteric I have mixed feelings about this book, but on the whole, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who's interested in autoimmune disease.

It was actually quite well researched. However, the footnotes are not annotated within the text, so while I was reading along, it SEEMED like an awful lot of generalities and assumptions and made-up statistics with no studies to back it up. Only after I finished did I find the footnotes, many of which do provide hard data to back up the somewhat esoteric claims made in the text. I'd actually like to go back and read this book again, INCLUDING footnotes and the studies to which they refer -- but that'll have to wait; right now it needs to go back to the library. I guess I need to just buy the book and mark it all up myself, in fact.

Nakazawa phrases some things oddly or even incorrectly which probably are not that big a deal, but when she says, for example, "imagine this is a scale of one to ten" but she actually means it's a ten-step PROCESS, it is confusing to a literal reader like me and makes it harder to find the content credible. That being said, the content WAS actually very good, and less pedantic people than I might not even notice.

As to the content, well, it certainly isn't very heartening, but I think it's important for anyone who wants to be healthy to know these things. It was well organized, beginning with establishing that there is in fact a very steep rise in the number of autoimmune patients since WWII, and addressing in turn the various causes (or likely causes) of this explosion (toxic chemicals in our environment, genetics, heavy metals in our systems, viral illnesses -- and a dismissal of the hygiene hypothesis), then moving to the latest research in treatments, and finally talking about things autoimmune patients can do to improve their conditions. Of these last two; the research is exciting, but ultimately we're still many years away from a "cure" or a treatment effective enough to restore normal lifestyles to most autoimmune patients; and the lifestyle changes to mitigate current autoimmune illnesses are not discussed all that thoroughly.

My feeling is that this book is an excellent place to start if you're interested in learning about autoimmune diseases. It's a great overview. Even though certain disorders (MS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis) get more mention than others, one of the major points of this book is that autoimmunity itself is the real problem, and we should be studying the mechanism that causes our immune cells to turn on our own bodies, rather than divvying up the disorders according to which part of the body is being attacked, and attempting to treat those symptoms -- so do not be turned off if you have some super rare condition you think won't be addressed; this book will be relevant to you, too.

Bottom line: if you have or know someone who has an autoimmune disease, start here. ...more
4

Jun 24, 2010

I have had this book on my shelf for over a year now, and I have just been dreading to read it. Why? I am the statistic, that is why. I have an autoimmune disease (uveitis, which is inflammation of the uvea in the eye), and I wanted to read more about others who struggle with their bodies turning against them. I was also interested in theories on why I have this problem to begin with and learn about possible causes, factors, and also health tips.

With that said, I was interested very much in I have had this book on my shelf for over a year now, and I have just been dreading to read it. Why? I am the statistic, that is why. I have an autoimmune disease (uveitis, which is inflammation of the uvea in the eye), and I wanted to read more about others who struggle with their bodies turning against them. I was also interested in theories on why I have this problem to begin with and learn about possible causes, factors, and also health tips.

With that said, I was interested very much in this book, and it is heartbreaking. How can autoimmune diseases that were pretty much random while I was growing up have now become household names? There was always the two token kids in school with diabetes or arthritis, but now almost every 1 in 6 kids has issues. Asthma is growing exponentially. More young women are being diagnosed with lupus. What is going on? As I have suspected from my own experience, research is finding a correlation between environmental factors (pollution, pesticides, chemicals like Mercury, etc) and to household cleaners and goods (flame retardants on furniture, chemicals in household cleaners not deemed green). Sure, some people have autoimmunity due to their genes, which can't be helped. Yes, stress is a major cause of flare-ups as well.

This book outlines many scenarios, and it is scary. If you are a hypochondriac, do not read this book since you will literally feel trapped with nowhere to go.. not even your home. It is a bit scientific-y, but I was prepared for it (hey, 2 years of pre-pharmacy coursework can pay off!) It was also refreshing to read about scientists who are making headway in the creation of drugs and "cures" for diabetes and MS. I am excited as to what the future holds for patients with those issues.


So yeah, this book was harrowing yet thought-provoking. I am living proof that anyone can be afflicted with some kind of problem. I just Thank God every day that my problem is now manageable and livable unlike other awful diseases. I will live with this problem for the rest of my life. Will I be able to have children? Will I be able to see without other eye surgeries when I reach an older age? Those questions are yet to be answered. ...more
4

Jul 27, 2010

This book is extraordinary! A real eye-opener that should be required reading for anyone trying to lead a healthy life in our modern, chemical-laden world.

Donna Jackson Nakazawa's own experience suddenly becoming partially paralyzed (luckily for her it only lasted a couple months) and being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, led her to follow her journalistic instincts and training and delve into the murky and messy world of autoimmune disease, which now affects 24 million Americans (more This book is extraordinary! A real eye-opener that should be required reading for anyone trying to lead a healthy life in our modern, chemical-laden world.

Donna Jackson Nakazawa's own experience suddenly becoming partially paralyzed (luckily for her it only lasted a couple months) and being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, led her to follow her journalistic instincts and training and delve into the murky and messy world of autoimmune disease, which now affects 24 million Americans (more than are affected by cancer or heart disease), and millions of others worldwide, and yet has a research budget much, much smaller than that of cancer and heart disease.

Rates of autoimmune diseases (when the body starts attacking its own tissues, organs, etc..) are rising very rapidly and have been for the last twenty years, and only in the last ten years are scientists beginning to pay serious attention to them and slowly uncover what causes them. Nakazawa explores the leading theory that in today's modern world we are so overburdened with chemicals and toxins and viruses that our immune systems are almost constantly on overdrive and eventually start malfunctioning and attacking the body itself (the barrel effect, ie. the straw that breaks the immune system's back). Nakazawa presents alarming statistics, interviews doctors and researchers who study and treat autoimmune diseases full-time (and overtime), and presents fascinating research and groundbreaking studies being performed at cutting-edge labs worldwide. ...more
3

Feb 11, 2016

nonfiction; health/wellness. Would recommend for anyone with a mysterious chronic medical condition, or with a diagnosed autoimmune condition, or who is close to someone who is (more awareness is probably a good thing for anyone, but if you aren't personally concerned about these diseases, you're not likely to give it much credit. Even taken with a grain of salt, most of this is pretty depressing (with dramatic personal stories that might seem sensationalist to anyone who doesn't know someone nonfiction; health/wellness. Would recommend for anyone with a mysterious chronic medical condition, or with a diagnosed autoimmune condition, or who is close to someone who is (more awareness is probably a good thing for anyone, but if you aren't personally concerned about these diseases, you're not likely to give it much credit. Even taken with a grain of salt, most of this is pretty depressing (with dramatic personal stories that might seem sensationalist to anyone who doesn't know someone with lupus or other serious conditions, and with alarming levels of inescapable toxins apparently lurking everywhere, ready to trigger disabling disease in susceptible individuals) but it also highlights the problems with getting autoimmune disorders recognized in the medical community (even though they are becoming increasingly common--though tough to recognize/diagnose, even more so than cancers). I did find the last chapter (foods to reduce inflammation and other ways to reduce your exposure to chemicals and toxins) to be pretty helpful, though the verdicts on some of the possibly helpful supplements were still out when this was published, so again, have to take with a grain of salt. ...more
3

Jun 23, 2008

This probably really deserves a 3.5 or 3.75 :) Very interesting look at the combination of genetic, environmental, and health factors that when added together can result in autoimmune disease. Specifically the book is trying to address why we are seeing such sharp increases in diagnosis of autoimmune diseases (sometimes in clusters). I had no idea there were as many different diseases that are classified as autoimmune responses and it's interesting that each disease tends to get treated by a This probably really deserves a 3.5 or 3.75 :) Very interesting look at the combination of genetic, environmental, and health factors that when added together can result in autoimmune disease. Specifically the book is trying to address why we are seeing such sharp increases in diagnosis of autoimmune diseases (sometimes in clusters). I had no idea there were as many different diseases that are classified as autoimmune responses and it's interesting that each disease tends to get treated by a specialist for that part of the body while the underlying autoimmune response hasn't been looked at as closely. I have followed Dr. Faustman's work and the brief look at her approach here seems on target. I'm not sure how helpful the end chapter of things individuals can do to lower their risk is -- I didn't really read it very carefully. Unfortunately, the topic is moving so quickly that this kind of book probably needs to be updated once/year. But, it is a good introduction to the science that could be followed up on by reading the newer studies. ...more
3

May 28, 2009

I read this book to get a better understanding of the disease I'll be dealing with (maybe for the rest of my life.) It was informative, but also a bit frustrating. If so many people are being diagnosed with auto-immune diseases, why isn't more being done in the field of science and medicine? According to the book, more patients suffer from auto-immune disease than heart disease and cancer. It's a little upsetting. Also, the book talks about how to change your lifestyle to help prevent further I read this book to get a better understanding of the disease I'll be dealing with (maybe for the rest of my life.) It was informative, but also a bit frustrating. If so many people are being diagnosed with auto-immune diseases, why isn't more being done in the field of science and medicine? According to the book, more patients suffer from auto-immune disease than heart disease and cancer. It's a little upsetting. Also, the book talks about how to change your lifestyle to help prevent further attacks or the onset of other auto-immune diseasese, but you can't do all of it, and it's a bit overwhelming. There's also a diet section that supposed to improve your life, but that means practically going on an elimination diet and not eating at all. I guess I'll try to live my life healthier, but you can't stress about all of the points in the book, or you're going to drive yourself crazy. ...more

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