Characteristics of autoimmune disorders

This article was endorsed by Syed Awais Bukhari - Professional doctor from Nishtar Medical University

Immunity disorders

What are autoimmune diseases or disorders?

They are a type of disorders in which the immune system attacks its own organs or tissues.

This is produced by a wrong answer of the inmume system thinking that proper parts of the human body are foreign elements that have invaded it. The body does not recognize its own normal parts and injuries its own cells.

Where do autoimmune diseases affect?

Malar erythema
Malar erythema characteristic of lupus.

The autoimmune disease can cause damage or injury in tissues or organs attacked and they then not work properly, either because their tissues attacked are destroyed, or because they occur in abnormal growth.

Among the main tissues where this attack can occur are the following: muscles, skin, joints, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage, endocrine glands, etc.

Can an autoimmune disease be cured?

Autoimmune diseases are generally chronic. Although many of their symptoms can be controlled, they generally diminish the quality of life of people who have them. Many patients are unhappy when they see their problems are not solved so that, ultimately, they may be affected by depressive symptoms.

Major autoimmune disorders

Among the main autoimmune disorders, we can include the following:

  • Pernicious anemia: It is a type of anemia that occurs because the body lacks the necessary element to produce the absorption of vitamin B12 or cobalamin. The component that allows you to absorb this vitamin is called “intrinsic factor”, a protein produced by the cells of the stomach. Problems can be caused either by atrophy of the gastric mucosa or because of autoimmune response against the gastric cells or against the intrinsic factor itself.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: A chronic disease in which there is inflammation of small joints of the extremities, also affecting other organs, bones, tendons, etc. The exact cause is unknown but, because a false response, the immune system attacks the body’s own cells.
  • Multiple sclerosis: A degenerative autoimmune disease of the central nervous system characterized by the blockage or retention of nerve impulses, with the consequent loss of many bodily functions. (Loss of speech, inability to walk, memory loss, urinary incontinence, etc)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus: An autoimmune disease that attacks the skin, joints, kidneys and other organs of the body. It can manifest as fever, fatigue, skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, headache, respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, sore fingers to cold, and so on.
  • Celiac disease: A disease characterized by chronic intestinal malabsorption of gluten, which, when it comes into contact with the intestines, it produces an inflammatory reaction, injuring it. People with this condition have a poor absorption of nutrients that affects their overall health.
  • Sjogren Syndrome. In this case the body mainly attacks the secretory glands. The syndrome is mainly characterized by dry mouth, dry eyes and membranes and pain in the joints.
  • Diabetes Type I: (Insulin-dependent diabetes or diabetes mellitus) It is a disease mainly affecting youths and infants with a rapid evolution. Characterized by insulin deficiency in the blood, it is caused by an alteration in the pancreas that produces too little insulin. Possible causes of error include an immune system error. The body mistakenly attacks the cells that produce insulin.
  • LADA Diabetes: This is another type of diabetes of the autoimmune type that mainly affects the adult population. It has been observed that some cases of type 2 diabetes (adult diabetes) are actually LADA diabetes, with an autoimmune component.
  • Crohn’s Disease: It causes chronic inflammation of the intestine with the appearance of continuous or frequent intermittent episodes of diarrhea, alternating with possible periods of constipation. Inflammation, which may appear anywhere in the digestive tract, tends to focus on the junction between the small intestine and the large intestine, an area known as ileus. The exact causes are not known, although the possibility exists that the body itself, stimulated by a virus or bacterium, may attack the patient’s own intestine.

Intestinal immune diseases

  • Crohn’s disease: It produces chronic inflammation of the intestine with the appearance of frequent or continuous intermittent episodes of diarrhea alternated with possible periods of constipation. The inflammation, which can appear anywhere in the digestive canal, is usually centered at the junction between the small and large intestines, an area known as the ileum. The causes are not exactly known, although there is a possibility that the body itself, stimulated by a virus or bacteria, could attack the patient’s own intestine.

Autoimmune thyroid diseases

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: It causes inflammation of the thyroid gland and, consequently, lower production of thyroid hormones. It is one of the causes of hypothyroidism
  • Graves’ disease: The thyroid produces too much hormone. It is the main cause of hyperthyroidism.

Other types of autoimmune diseases

  • Reactive arthritis: The body reacts against the body’s joints, urethra, urinary tract and eyes. The main articular symptoms are: lumbago, hip pain, ankle pain, knee pain, Achilles tendon pain, heel pain.
  • Myasthenia gravis: It causes problems in the voluntary muscles, producing many symptoms in The involved muscles, such as: paralysis of the facial muscles, general fatigue, difficulty swallowing or chewing, difficulty speaking, difficulty breathing, hoarseness, double vision, drooping eyelids, and so on.
  • Dermatomyositis: It causes inflammation and skin bright red eruptions. It can also cause breathing problems, pain and muscle weakness, change in color of the upper eyelids that turn dark red or purple.
  • Addison’s disease: The organism can attack the outside part or cortex of the adrenal glands that produce fewer hormones. Among the most characteristic symptoms are: weight loss, lost of appetite, body weakness, fatigue, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, general pallor or dark patches in some parts of the skin, arrhythmias, blood pressure changes, desire eating salty foods, etc.

Causes of having an autoimmune disease

These disorders occur because the immune system is unable to recognize the body’s own cells. Normally, the white blood cells recognize the foreign elements, called antigens.

The antigens may be diverse: microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses, toxins from food, air, environment, drugs, etc.; body’s own cancer cells, another person’s blood, tissues from another person or another sort, etc.

The problem occurs when the body recognizes as not familiar the body tissues themselves reacting as if they were strange or harmful.

Why do autoimmune diseases or disorders occur?

It is not known exactly why this type of reaction occurs, although there are theories that suggest that it could be caused by bacteria, viruses or medications, especially in those people who genetically have a predisposition to undergo this type of change.

Recent research relates the appearance of autoimmune diseases with a disorder in intestinal function called intestinal hyperpermeability or too leaky gut syndrome.

Medications as a cause of autoimmune diseases?

Is this talking a lot about the role of excess medication in increasing immunity disorders. Specifically, the inappropriate use of antibiotics has been highlighted as one of the main causes of the weakening of our defenses, starting with the microbiota or intestinal flora. Providing too many antibiotics can lead to our immune systems being prone to these and this then creates autoimmunity making us too weak and not prepared to defend ourselves when a serious invasion occurs or malfunction.

On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that the microorganisms themselves become resistant against many antibiotics, so their use is not effective. This would explain how many diseases, which were previously easily cured by applying this type of medicine, today cannot be eliminated.

Similarly, some specialists disagree with the use of vaccines. Many believe that some are not effective; Others consider that they could be responsible for the appearance of some immunity disorders.

Symptoms of autoimmune disorders

The symptoms of this type of disorders are very varied and depend on the type of organ affected, as we have seen previously. In general, we could say that they all have certain common symptoms such as:
• Moderate fever
• discomfort
• tiredness
• dizziness

Diagnosis of autoimmune diseases or disorders

The diagnosis of autoimmune disorders is carried out by a physical examination by the doctor who can focus on some particular symptoms of each type of disease.

In addition to this recognition, other tests such as blood tests may be needed, in which the rate of erythrocytic sedimentation (ESR) and the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) will be fundamentally evaluated. They will check the levels of inflammation in the body.

Treatment of autoimmune diseases

Medications that decrease the immune reaction (immunosuppressants), hormones, vitamins, etc. can also be prescribed.

No one knows exactly why there is this kind of reaction, although there are theories that suggest that it might be caused by bacteria or drugs, especially to those people who, genetically, are predisposed to such changes.

It is being said a lot about the role of excessive medication in the increase in immune disorders. In particular, it is highlighted the inappropriate use of antibiotics as one of the main causes of weakening our defenses.

Providing too many antibiotics can lead to our immune system to be too much relaxed and not prepared to defend us when there is a serious invasion. Moreover, we must not forget that the microorganisms themselves are resistant to many antibiotics so their use can be not effective. This would explain how many diseases, that were once easily cured by applying this type of medicine, do not improve in these days.

Similarly, some experts disagree with the use of vaccines. Many believe that there are not effective, others think that they might be even responsible for the onset of certain disorders of immunity.

Symptoms of autoimmune diseases

The symptoms of these disorder are varied and depend on the affected organ, as seen above. In general, we could say that they all have certain common symptoms, including mild fever, malaise, fatigue and dizziness.

Diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune disorders or diseases

The diagnosis of autoimmune disorders is performed by a examination by the physician who may focus on some particular symptoms of each type of disease.

In addition to this medical examination, you may need other tests such as blood tests which will fundamentally evaluate the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). With them, you will be checked for levels of inflammation in your body.

Most of these diseases are chronic. Conventional treatment of autoimmune disorders is based primarily on drugs to reduce symptoms. You can also be prescribed with medications that lower your immune response (immunosuppressants), hormones, vitamins, etc.

More information about boosting your immune system.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

15 June, 2020

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