Book Review: The Autoimmune Epidemic by Donna Nakazawa
Review done by: Skye Falcon, author
I always skim the shelves at the library, and often end up with the strange or unusual books. This time, I found something right up my alley. Lately, I’ve really come to question WHY people are getting so many different autoimmune diseases, including myself. The Autoimmune Epidemic by Donna Jackson Nakazawa really brings to light the real possibility that our own world is truly making many of us very sick. Not only does the author have personal experience dealing with autoimmune issues, but she also has up close encounters with numerous others who are also riddled with illness. It’s always reassuring to sick folk, when their doctor or friend HAS what they have… then they really do know what we know, and feel what we have felt. This book is awesome!
I had favorite parts from the book, and some that were just plainly astonishing. Some selections I have inserted for you, directly from the book The Autoimmune Epidemic. I love the that book opens with the definition of “autoimmune disease” from the National Institute of Health.
“Autoimmune Disease: Normally the Immune system’s army of white blood cells helps protect the body from harmful substances called antigens. Examples of antigens include bacteria, viruses, and toxins… but in patients with autoimmune disorder, the immune system can’t tell the difference between healthy body tissue and antigens. The result is an immune response that destroys all healthy tissues” (NIH).
Another part of the book I found educational was the in-depth discussion on PBDE’s, or poly-brominated di-phenyl ethers. What are PBDE’s? These are the chemicals used by every manufacturer, on almost every surface and item in your home, car, office, etc. I knew that things were chemical treated, but the way the author writes the example really walks you through your everyday life. Also sort of helps to realize that some of the PBDE intake is unavoidable.
In another section of the book, she points out how certain areas with past toxic dumps, and chemical spills, had the highest ratios of patients with lupus, scleroderma, and other life altering autoimmune diseases. She gives honest websites, and information, and I checked each link! In the book, Nakazawa writes, “..the next time you spare a minute…go to the web address http://www.epa.gov/enviro/emef and then type in zip code 14211 in the space provided. Now watch the green and black squares pop up” (Nakazawa, 79).
This was very interesting to see, and you can put in ANY zip code, too. It made me stop and wonder if the people living in some of these chemical spill “hot zones” know that they even live in a danger zone to begin with.
If you’ve ever been more curious about autoimmune disease, and just where they may spawn from, pick up this quick read today! Many time we’ll know someone, or maybe a family member is stricken with a new, odd illness. The author even puts a list of autoimmune diseases in the appendix for one to scroll through. Some of the diseases I had heard of, but not correlated with autoimmune issues. After reading the list, and contemplating my own autoimmune struggles… I am sort of jealous and upset that I don’t have something like narcolepsy. I’m very sure that it is terrible….but I’d give about anything to sleep these days!!
Thanks to Skye for contributing to our ECR blog!
National Institute of Health
Nakazawa, Donna Jackson. The autoimmune epidemic. new York: touchstone: A division of Simon and Schuster Inc, 2008. Print.