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Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune Diseases

 Our immune system is a wonderful mechanism that protects our body from bacteria, viruses, cancer cells and tissues that derive from another person. The white blood cells are programmed to detect and destroy all potential threats, which are called antigens. When the function of white blood cells to distinguish antigens from healthy cells is lost, the body’s immune system can turn against the body’s own cells. 

There is no clear medical consensus about the causes of autoimmune diseases, but besides the certain genetic susceptibility, doctors suspect that some drugs and antigens cause this faulty immune response.

The seriousness of the condition is shown by the fact that autoimmune diseases are estimated to be among the 10 leading causes of death among women.

 The Symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases

  • fever
  • constant, general ill-feeling
  • weakness,  fatigue



 After analyzing symptoms and medical history, physical examination and a variety of lab test can specify the type of autoimmunity. As for the location, the best option is to perform an immunofluorescence of biopsy samples. Several autoimmune diseases are diagnosed with autoantibodies and their number might indicate the stage of the disease (autoantibody test). 

Other tests include:

  • Antinuclear antibody test
  • C-reactive protein test
  • CBC

 What Tissues Can Be Affected?

Autoimmune diseases can lead to the abnormal growth, altered functions or destruction of the following tissues and organs:

  • skin
  • muscles
  • joints
  • blood vessels and red blood cells
  • Endocrine glands
  • membranes 

 Autoimmune disorders vary in the nature of the hypersensitivity and the location. Autoimmune diseases list is long, there are over 80 different illnesses triggered by autoimmunity, the most frequent ones are:

  • Addison’s disease
  • Alopecia areata
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Autoimmune  hepatitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Diabetes mellitus type 1
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Goodpasture syndrome
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Narcolepsy
  • Polymyositis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Autoimmune Disease Treatment

 As autoimmune disorders and symptoms greatly vary, so treatment is adjusted accordingly. In some diseases there are asymptomatic periods followed by the aggravation of the condition (commonly called flare-up). With treatment the disease can be rather controlled than cured and very often they turn chronic. 

Autoimmune disease treatment besides relieving symptoms can be

  • anti-inflammatory/steroidal
  • immunorepressive (with steroid and non-steroid drugs)
  • hormone  and vitamine replacement
  • dietary restrictions
  • blood transfusion


 Lifestyle and Autoimmunity

Although there is no medically proven way to cure autoimmune diseases, certain lifestyle factors can influence the disorder positively. 

  • Anti-oxidants are  essential in combating free radicals that have been associated with some diseases. 
  • Supply yourself with probiotics, especially Lactobacillus found in fermented dairy products and Omega 3 fatty acids. 
  • Spend a lot of time outdoors as the Vitamin D is important to regulate the immune system.