When the immune system goes rogue - The New Indian Express

When the immune system goes rogue

Published: 08th September 2013 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 07th September 2013 11:39 AM

What do rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Type 1 diabetes, Graves’ disease, and multiple sclerosis have in common? One affects joints, another blood sugar. One puts the thyroid into “overdrive.” And the last condition affects the brain and spinal cord. Although the diseases seem pretty different, there is one common denominator. They are all believed to be autoimmune diseases.

RA is one of about 80 different types of autoimmune diseases. After cancer and heart disease, autoimmune diseases are the most common type of disease in the US, affecting 50 million Americans. Women make up nearly eight out of every 10 people with an autoimmune disease.

What are Autoimmune Diseases?

With an autoimmune disease like RA, the white blood cells overreact to stimuli inside the body. Instead of protecting the body from infection or disease as it normally does, the immune system attacks and destroys the body’s healthy tissue. It does this by producing antibodies against the body’s tissue. This is called autoimmunity.

When the disease affects many organs, as in lupus, it’s called a systemic autoimmune disease. If it affects a single organ or type of tissue, such as in Type 1 diabetes, it’s known as a localized autoimmune disease. Different autoimmune diseases often cluster in families and may affect almost any organ in the body. When they do, they may cause abnormal growth or changes

in function.

There are some similarities to allergies in the way the body reacts negatively with an autoimmune disease. The difference is that with allergies, the body’s overreaction and response is to external factors such as dust or dander. With an autoimmune disease, the body is responding to itself.

What causes Autoimmune Diseases?

What causes the immune system to no longer tell the difference between healthy body tissues and antigens is unknown. One theory is that some microorganisms (such as bacteria or viruses) or drugs may trigger some of these changes, especially in people who have genes that make them more likely to get autoimmune disorders.

How to reverse it?

If you suspect that you have an autoimmune disease, the most important steps to stopping and reversing your disease and symptoms are to identify and then to treat the underlying cause. Conventional doctors only treat the symptoms of autoimmune diseases; they don’t look to find the root cause.

Eliminate inflammatory foods from the diet. Remove all grain and legumes. Lectins in grains and legumes have been implicated in this disease.

A comprehensive stool test can be taken to look at levels of good bacteria, check for infections and leaky gut. More than 80 per cent of the immune system is in the gut. If you have an autoimmune disease, then by definition you have a leaky gut that needs to be repaired, otherwise you won’t be able to reverse your condition. 

10 Signs of Autoimmune Disease

1. Joint pain, muscle pain or weakness or a tremor

2. Weight loss, insomnia, heat intolerance or rapid heartbeat

3. Recurrent rashes or hives, sun-sensitivity, a butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks.

4. Difficulty concentrating or focusing

5. Feeling tired or fatigued, weight gain or cold intolerance

6. Hair loss or white patches on your skin or inside your mouth

7. Abdominal pain, blood or mucus in your stool, diarrhea or mouth ulcers

8. Dry eyes, mouth or skin

9. Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

10. Multiple miscarriages or blood clots

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