DEFINITION: It is a condition that arises through aberrant reactions of human adaptive or innate immune systems.
The backbone of our immune system is the ability to recognize which is a part of us and which is not. This ability is so great that it can figure what is his and what is not! Sometimes this ability can get a little dysfunctional and it recognizes self as foreign. True as it may seem, it doesn’t mean they attack everything there is in the body. There is a specific tissue that the immune system can attack which is being activated by the body’s own protein.
The Causes of Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune is thought to be brought by a combination of genetics, infection and environmental factors. Physical and/or emotional stress, a poor diet, or an overstressed immune system is just a few of the other factors that may trigger the initiation or flare-up of an autoimmune disease. Recent studies have also found a possible link between low Vitamin D levels and a number of autoimmune diseases.
While both men and women are vulnerable, women are three times more likely to develop autoimmune diseases than men.75% of all autoimmune diseases are in women. This seems to be because women have more developed immune systems than men. This is a real benefit for women - provided their immune systems don't turn on them.
Common Autoimmune Disorders
They are classified in two types: localized and systemic. In localized, it affects a specific location or certain tissue sparing the rest of the other tissues while systemic ones are affecting a number of different systems or organs throughout the body.
Common localized autoimmune diseases are Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and Addison’s disease.
Common systemic autoimmune disease includes rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatic, Sjogren syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Presenting Signs and Symptoms
The following are the presenting manifestations of autoimmune disorders. Without apparent cause, these should prompt you to see your specialist. These are extreme fatigue, fever, inflammation, swollen glands, bloating and abdominal pain, diarrhea, rashes, itchy skin, pins-and needles sensation in the hands and feet, weight gain or loss, changes in color of the eyes.
It is always advisable to seek professional medical advice. Your doctor may want you to undergo treatments specific to your condition. These include hormone replacement therapy - for autoimmune diseases damaging hormone glands, enzyme replacement therapy - for autoimmune diseases damaging enzyme-producing glands. Medical treatment includes corticosteroids, prednisone, NSAIDs, plasmapheresis, immunosuppressants, Cyclophosphamide,AzathioprineCyclosporinand Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). The main purpose of the treatment is to put your immune system back on the right track.
Who would have thought that something so surprising inside our body is happening! We are confident that our body could protect us from any invaders but without our knowledge, it is the one putting us into trouble once it get a little crazy down there. So before your body could trick you, treat them first, tenderly and lovingly. Get enough rest, a lot of vitamins and minerals through foods. And have a regular trip to your doctor’s office for check-up. Who knows! Maybe this time the one foreign to you can protect you more than you could to yourself!