Living with an autoimmune disease
The immune system helps to protect and fight against bacterial invasion as well as disease. When its function is disturbed, such as an overactive immune system, then the body will attack and destroy its own tissues. Therefore, it is necessary to detect the disease early to be effective in the treatment process.
1. What is an autoimmune disease?
Immune system disorders that cause abnormally low activity or overactivity of the immune system. In cases where the immune system is overactive, the body attacking and damaging its own tissues are known as autoimmune diseases. This is an immune deficiency disease that reduces the body's ability to fight invaders, causing vulnerability to infection.
Autoimmune diseases include:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): The immune system attacks the lining of the intestines, causing diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, fever, and weight loss. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the two main types of inflammatory bowel disease. Multiple sclerosis (MS): The immune system attacks nerve cells, causing symptoms that can include: pain, blindness, weakness, poor coordination, and muscle spasms. Type 1 diabetes: Antibodies to the immune system attack and destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As adults, people with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections to stay alive.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: The immune system produces antibodies that are attached to the lining of the joints. The cells of the immune system then attack the joints causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. If the disease is left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis causes permanent joint damage. Lupus erythematosus (lupus): People with advanced lupus have autoimmune antibodies that can attach to tissues throughout the body. In addition, the joints, lungs, blood cells, nerves, and kidneys are often also affected in lupus. Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS): The immune system attacks the nerves that control muscles in the legs and sometimes the arms and upper body. Hemodialysis with purified plasma therapy is the mainstay of treatment for Guillain-Barre syndrome. Chronic demyelinating polyneuritis (CIDP): Similar to Guillian-Barre, the immune system also attacks the nerves in chronic polyneuritis that destroys myelin, but symptoms of the disease This can last much longer than Guillian-Barre. About 30% of patients could be wheelchair-bound for life if not diagnosed and treated early. Treatment of chronic demyelinating polyneuritis and Guillian-Barre syndrome is essentially the same. Psoriasis: In psoriasis, overactive immune system blood cells called T cells are found in the skin. Immune system activity stimulates skin cells to reproduce rapidly, creating silvery, scaly patches on the skin.
Graves' disease: The immune system produces antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to release excess thyroid hormone into the bloodstream (hyperthyroidism). Hashimoto's thyroiditis: Antibodies produced by the immune system attack the thyroid gland, slowly destroying thyroid hormone-producing cells. Myasthenia gravis: Antibodies bind to nerves and make them unable to properly stimulate muscles. Vasculitis: The immune system attacks and destroys the blood vessels in this group of autoimmune diseases. Vasculitis can affect any organ, so its symptoms are variable and can occur anywhere in the body.
2. Living with an autoimmune disease
The first symptoms of an autoimmune disease can be very general, such as: fatigue, fever, difficulty concentrating. And this makes autoimmune diseases difficult to diagnose in the early stages of the disease. About 50 million Americans and most of them are women, especially women of working age, giving birth have autoimmune diseases. Examples: Rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, psoriasis, alopecia, lupus, thyroid disease, Addison's disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, syndrome Guillain-Barre... A common phenomenon of these diseases is the activation of the immune system against the body's own.
2.1. General Features of Autoimmune Diseases According to Noel R. Rose, MD, PhD, professor of microbiology, immunology & pathology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, diseases appear to be different such as: : Psoriasis and diabetes may be from a really common cause that is related to a relatively new concept. Because, in the past, the immune system was understood to be beneficial to the body and it would have to fight factors from outside the body.
Scientists today say that the immune system is a set of actions and responses that can be stimulated by some factor other than invading pathogens, viruses, or bacteria. The risk of being attacked by your own immune system is genetic. That means, if a parent has an autoimmune disease, their children are also at risk.
Another common feature of autoimmune disease is that it is widely assumed that an external agent is required to initiate the disease process. Even with genetics, a person cannot develop an autoimmune disease without environmental influences to begin with. For example, these factors can be food (iodine, gluten products) and toxins (tobacco, dyes, chemicals...)
Although autoimmune disorders can make life difficult difficult, but they are often chronic and not fatal. Some of the methods being tested include a complete "reboot" of the immune system with the idea that if the entire immune system is cleared, it will be able to work better the second time around. This method should only be tested if other treatments have failed.
2.2. What to do when living with an autoimmune disease If you suspect you may have an autoimmune problem, it's important to identify and deal with any food allergies. Possible pathogens are: wheat, milk, corn, soybeans, fish, nuts and fruit. The high sugar content also puts a strain on the immune system.
To reduce infection, wash your hands often and keep them clean. In addition, dental care also has a similar effect. Because gum disease can cause holes and be favorable conditions for infection.
Each autoimmune disorder will also have its own unique dietary and treatment recommendations. Autoimmune disease is curable or not depends on early detection of symptoms and timely treatment.
3. Treatment of autoimmune disease
In response to an unknown agent, the immune system may start making antibodies that instead fight the infection, which attack the body's tissues. Curative treatment for autoimmune diseases often focuses on reducing the activity of the immune system.
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Reference source: webmd.com
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