Autoimmune disorders are conditions such as Celiac Disease, where the person is allergic to gluten, or RA, which attacks the joints. They are defined as autoimmune conditions because they originate in the immune system, which then attacks the body. The immune system is vital for the healthy functioning of the body because it protects against foreign substances that try to invade. In the average person, it works well and prevents disease and infection.
How Does an Autoimmune Disorder Work?
In an autoimmune disorder, the immune system gets confused and turns on the body instead of the foreign substance, such as bacteria or germs. This causes pain and inflammation. The autoantibodies are released against healthy cells, not the foreign intruders, and the symptoms begin. The characteristics may flare-up or go into remission as the disease progresses, and the disease may affect a portion of the body or the entire body, depending on the diagnosis.
Who is at Risk for Autoimmune Disorders?
A 2014 study found that women test positive for autoimmune disorders twice as much as men. Scientists think that the malfunction in the immune system begins during the childbearing years. They also found that certain ethnic groups are more susceptible; lupus affects more Hispanics and African Americans than Caucasians.
Some forms are found to be genetically oriented, but because autoimmune disorders are increasing, researchers suspect environmental factors and diet to be the source. Today, more than 80 different autoimmune diseases have been identified. Here are 10 of the most common:
1. Type 1 diabetes
2. Multiple sclerosis (MS)
3. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
4. Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis
5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
6. Addison’s disease
7. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
8. Celiac Disease
9. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
10. Graves’ disease
In 2015, a study found that Celiac Disease affects one percent of Americans, and more report a gluten sensitivity, which may also cause similar symptoms. All of these diseases share similar symptoms, but they also create their own individual characteristics.
Here are common symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Hair loss
- Constant ache in the muscles
- Low-grade fever
- Swelling in the joints or affected organs
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Skin rashes
- Difficulty concentrating
- IBD, causing belly pain, bloating and diarrhea
Cause of Autoimmune Disorders
Research has not defined a definitive cause of autoimmune disorders, but studies have shown that damaging or affecting the immune disease is linked to the average diet of most Americans. Foods filled with sugar, preservatives, and chemicals are common culprits of a diseased immune system, therefore contributing to the cause of autoimmune disorders.
If you would like to know more about your own immune system, and how you can improve it, please set up an appointment at Radiantly Healthy MD, located in Indialantic. Contact us today to book your consultation.