Autoimmune diseases are usually the result of an immune response to the body’s own tissues and organs. The body perceives them as a threat and mounts a defense against the attack, which leads to damage to healthy tissue.
Autoimmune disease represents more than 80% of all chronic illnesses in the United States. These diseases entail pain, fatigue, and significant restrictions on daily activities, including work, family life, and social life.
The most common autoimmune disorder is Type 1 diabetes (T1D), which affects about 3.4 million Americans or 0.5% of the population. T1D is caused by the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas that cannot be replaced by beta cells due to autoimmune processes in childhood or young adulthood.
What is an autoimmune disease?
Autoimmune diseases are caused by the body’s own immune system attacking its own cells. They can affect all different parts of the body, and sometimes these attacks can be life-threatening.
Autoimmune diseases are those where your body’s immune system goes on the attack, attacking its own organs and tissues. The most common ones found in adults are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and some types of arthritis.
How do people get it?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to autoimmune disease development, including:
- Genetic predispositions
- Infections (viruses and bacteria)
- The presence of certain environmental triggers such as stress in high-risk people
- Unknown causes
How does autoimmune disease manifests itself in the body?
Autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs.
It is very common for the body’s immune system to attack its own organs and cells. But, it can also be triggered by other factors like infections, excessive stress, or exposure to certain chemicals.
Autoimmune diseases can manifest themselves in many ways that vary depending on what organ is being attacked. Some of the most common autoimmune diseases are multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), psoriasis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
What are the Different Types of Autoimmune Diseases?
There are four main types of autoimmune diseases:
- Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
- Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura
- Autoimmune glomerulonephritis
- Anti-phospholipid syndrome
The Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases are usually caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own cells. Symptoms of autoimmune disease vary depending on the type.
The symptoms of autoimmune disease include:
-swelling in the face and throat (such as laryngeal edema)
-unexplained weight loss or gain
How to Manage Each Type of Autoimmune Disease
As autoimmune diseases become more prevalent, it is important to understand the different types and how each type can be managed.
Some autoimmune diseases are hereditary, while others are triggered by environmental factors. Understanding the differences between these two groups can help identify which type of autoimmune disease you or your loved one has.
Autoimmune diseases that are inherited are passed down from generation to generation with a high probability of occurring in each family member. These autoimmune conditions typically affect one organ in particular, such as the thyroid or intestines. On the other hand, those that are triggered by environmental factors have no history of being inherited and often affect a person’s whole body and multiple organs at once. These autoimmune disorders may be brought on by certain food items, infections, stressors, or even medications.
The Challenges of Managing an Autoimmune Disease
Managing autoimmune diseases is an arduous task. There are not only the physical challenges of dealing with the disease but also mental and emotional challenges.
Since autoimmune diseases can be triggered by stress, a person living with an autoimmune disease needs to learn how to manage their stress levels. This can be done through mindfulness meditation, exercise, or even activities such as gardening or photography, which give people an opportunity to focus on something else for a while.
In terms of managing the disease and managing their own emotions, people who live with these conditions need to have a lot of patience and gratitude for what they have been given.
Autoimmune diseases are a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and organs. These diseases can be difficult to manage with the current methods of treatment, which adversely affects the quality of life. In recent years, there has been a surge in new treatments, including immunotherapy, stem cell transplants, gene therapy, and more. Scientists are now working on projects such as aav packaging within the biotechnology field to try and create cures for many different diseases. Research is ongoing and doctors hope to find more cures in the next few decades. As you can imagine, finding a treatment or cure for something like an autoimmune deficiency, can be challenging and time consuming.