As a health professional who took a meandering path, one section of the trail was the unexpected diagnosis with autoimmune disease. Little did I know at the time that there are over 80 of them! According to the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, approximately 50 million Americans live with at least one autoimmune diagnosis. Out of that 50 million, approximately 75% are women (2015).
This personal path took a look at food, environment, and genetics under a critical lens, perhaps even more closely than I had the opportunity to gage throughout a Master of Public Health program. Last week I had the pleasure to attend a local, community event hosted by Noktivo Natural Nail Salon. Noktivo is run by a dynamic young professional who has taken a stand against a so called “dirty industry”.
At this event I met many outstanding woman representing “clean” beauty products. One stood out to me due to personal connection. The dynamic owner and founder of Biba Lips told me of her diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. This is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the thyroid. It is one of personal connection to me as I have observed the diagnosis in both family members and friends. It is what I would refer to as an “ugly” disease that can cause extreme fatigue and sluggishness as well as depletion of skin and hair quality, among many other things.
Despite the negative side of this disease, I was pleasantly greeted by a most favorable outcome of this diagnosis. Common to my path, beauty products and the chemical and/or toxic nature had been brought to the forefront of the discussion within overall health and wellness. The owner excitedly told me about her desire for keeping a little glamour in her life and, as a result, the concept for Biba Lips, a cleaner, healthier cosmetic option emerged.
The empowerment she felt radiated in her smile, words, and facial expressions. It was both delightful and motivating. Therefore, I devote this blog post to her. I give a huge shot out and “you go girl”. It is also a significant reminder of the strength of community. As a student, I focused on community health. It is nearly impossible to measure the strength of community ties to health outcomes (although we try). This example is certainly a “proof of concept” for me!
Autoimmune Disease In Women. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/autoimmune-disease-in-women/.
Biba Cosmetics LLC, http://www.bibalips.com
Noktivo Natural Nail Spa, http://www.noktivo.com