Autoimmune Disease
10 Case Studies
6 Member Stories
3 Research

In reaction to an unknown cause, the immune system may start producing antibodies that, rather than fighting infections, attack the body's cells. Treatment of autoimmune diseases focuses on reducing immune system activity.

What is autoimmune disease?

Your body's immune system defends you from infection and disease. Among the functions of the immune system is to protect the body by responding to invading microorganisms, like viruses or bacteria, by producing antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes (types of white blood cells).

Under normal conditions, an immune response can't be triggered against the tissues of a person's own body. Sometimes, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the cells they're meant to protect. This action may cause many different autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad group of associated diseases in which the individual's immune system attacks his or her tissue. Autoimmune diseases can affect several areas of the body.

Nobody is sure what causes autoimmune diseases. They do tend to run in families. Women - especially African American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American women - have a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases.

Immune system disorders can cause very low activity or overactivity of the immune system. In the case of immune system overactivity, the body attacks and damages its own tissues, known as autoimmune disorders. Immune deficiency diseases reduce the body's ability to resist invaders, causing exposure to infections.

In reaction to an unknown cause, the Immune system may start producing antibodies that, rather than fighting infections, attack the body's cells. Treatment of autoimmune diseases focuses on reducing immune system activity.

Autoimmune disease sysmptoms

Over 100 types of autoimmune diseases are known, and some of them have similar symptoms. This fact makes it hard for the medical care provider to know in case if and which disease you have. Obtaining a diagnosis can be quite frustrating. The first symptoms are usually tiredness, muscle aches, and a low fever. The classic indication of an autoimmune disorder is inflammation, which may lead to redness, heat, swelling, and pain.


The diseases also have flare-ups when they get worse, and remissions when symptoms get better. Treatment depends upon the condition, but in most cases, one principal aim is to decrease inflammation. Sometimes doctors prescribe corticosteroids or other medications that reduce your immune reaction.


Symptoms will vary, dependent on the type and location of the faulty immune reaction. Typical symptoms include:

• Fatigue

• Fever

• General ill feeling (malaise)

• Joint pain

• Rash


What causes autoimmune disease?

The blood cells in the immune system protect against dangerous substances such as bacteria & viruses. These substances contain antigens. The immune system generates chemicals against those antigens that enable it to destroy these dangerous substances.


In the case of Autoimmune disease, your immune system doesn't differentiate between healthy tissue and possibly harmful antigens. Because of this, the body starts a process that destroys healthy cells.


The exact cause of autoimmune disorders is not identified. One possible theory is that some microorganisms or medication can trigger changes that confuse the immune system. This may happen more frequently in people who have genes that make them more prone to autoimmune disorders.


An autoimmune disorder can result in:

• The destruction of body tissue

• Abnormal development or function in an organ


An autoimmune disorder may impact one or more tissue or organ types. Areas often affected by autoimmune disorders include:

• Blood vessels

• Connective tissues

• Endocrine glands like the thyroid or pancreas

• Joints

• Muscles

• Red blood cells

• Skin


Types of autoimmune diseases

Someone may have more than one autoimmune disorder at the same time. Common autoimmune disorders include:

• Addison disease

• Celiac disease - sprue (gluten-sensitive enteropathy)

• Hashimoto thyroiditis

• Multiple sclerosis

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Type I diabetes

Natural Treatments for autoimmune disease

The goals of treatment are to:

• Control the autoimmune process

• Keep the body's ability to fight disease

• Reduce symptoms


Treatments will depend on your symptoms and disease. Kinds of remedies include:

• Supplements to replace a chemical which the body lacks, such as thyroid hormone, vitamin B12, or insulin, because of the autoimmune disease

• Blood transfusions if blood is affected

• Physical therapy to help with mobility if the joints, bones, or muscles are affected

See: Autoimmune Paleo or AIP Diet

Many people take medicines to decrease the immune system's strange reaction. These are often called immunosuppressive medicines. Examples include corticosteroids (like prednisone) and nonsteroid medications like azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate, sirolimus, or tacrolimus. Targeted drugs like tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers and Interleukin inhibitors may be used for some ailments.


Prevention of autoimmune disease

There's no known prevention for many autoimmune disorders.


Overall, autoimmune disorders are common, affecting more than 23.5 million Americans. They're a major cause of disability and death. Some autoimmune diseases are quite rare, while others, such as Hashimoto's disease, affect lots of men and women. The outcome depends upon the disease type. Many autoimmune diseases are chronic, but many can be managed with the right treatment. Symptoms of autoimmune disorders can come and then disappear. When symptoms get worse, it's commonly known as a flare-up.

Who gets autoimmune diseases?

Autoimmune diseases can affect anyone. Yet certain people are at higher risk, including:

- Women of childbearing age - more women than men have autoimmune diseases, which often start during their twenties.

- People with a family history - Many autoimmune disorders run In households, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis.

- Additionally, it is common for different kinds of autoimmune diseases to affect various members of one family. Genetics can make it more likely to receive an autoimmune disease. However, a combination of genes and other factors may trigger the disease to get started.

- Individuals who are around specific things in the environment - Certain events or environmental triggers may cause some autoimmune diseases. Sunlight, solvents, fungal, and viral infections are connected to a lot of autoimmune diseases.

- People of particular races or ethnic backgrounds - Some autoimmune disorders are more frequent or affect certain groups of people more seriously.

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