An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body. The immune system normally guards against germs like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.
Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body, like your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases proteins called auto-antibodies that attack healthy cells.
Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. Type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), affect the whole body.
Why Does the Immunes System Attack the
Doctors don't know exactly what causes the immune-system to misfire. Yet some people are more likely to get an autoimmune disease than others.
According to a 2014 study, women get autoimmune diseases at a rate of about 2-1 compared to men. (6.4 percent of women -vs- 2.7 percent of men) Often the disease starts during a woman's childbearing years (ages 15 to 55).
Some autoimmune disease are more common in certain ethnic groups. For example, lupus affects more African-American and Hispanic people than Caucasians.
Certain autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and lupus, run in families. Not every family member will necessarily have the same disease, but they inherit a susceptibility to an autoimmune condition.
Because the incidence of autoimmune disease is rising, researchers suspect environmental factors like infections and exposure to chemicals or solvents might also be involved.
A "Western Diet" is another suspected risk factor for developing an autoimmune disease. Eating high-fat, high-sugar and highly processed foods is thought to be linked to inflammation, which might set off an immune response. However, this hasn't been proven.
A 2015 study focused on another theory called hygiene hypothesis. Because of vaccines and antiseptics, children today aren't exposed to as many germs as they were in the past. The lack of exposure could make their immune system prone to overreact to harmless substances.
Researchers don't know exactly what causes autoimmune diseases. Genetics, diet, infections, and exposure to chemicals might be involved.
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Medically reviewed by Stacy Sampson, D.O. —
Written by Stephanie Watson — Updated on March 26, 2019
I have a minimum of six diagnosed autoimmune diseases...
1. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Although doctors in the 1800s first described lupus as a skin disease because of the rash it commonly produces, the systemic form, which is the most common, actually affects many organs, including the joints, kidneys (I'm in stage 4 kidney disease), brain, and heart (I have congested heart failure).
Joint pain, fatigue, and rashes are among the most common symptoms.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
In rheumatoid arthritis or RA, the immune system attacks the joints. This attack causes redness, warmth, soreness, and stiffness in the joints.
Unlike osteoarthritis, which commonly affects people as they get older, RA can start as early as your 30's or sooner.
3. Psoriasis/Psoriatic arthritis
Skin cells normally grow and then shed when they're no longer needed. Psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply too quickly. The extra cells build up and form inflamed red patches, commonly with silver-white scales of plaque on the skin.
Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop swelling, stiffness, and pain in their joints. This form of disease is called psoriatic arthritis. In my case I suffer with terrible "cervical neck and lumbar spine" pain.
4. Sjögren’s syndrome
This condition attacks the glands that provide lubrication to the eyes and mouth. The hallmark symptoms of sjogren's syndrome are dry eyes and dry mouth, but it may also affect the joints or skin.
Although the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are very similar (for example, joint pain and swelling are associated with both conditions), there are some key differences between the two, not only in symptoms but also in the cause.
Osteoarthritis (OA), also know as degenerative joint disease, happens when the smooth cartilage on the joint surface wears out over time. It is generally considered a result of the aging process or overuse of a particular joint. RA on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's immune system attacks the synovial membrane that lines the joints.
Given how these two diseases develop, the damage from osteoarthritis can take years to develop, but the onset of RA can cause symptoms that worsen over several weeks or months.
6. Allergy Related Asthma
Speaking of allergic and non-allergic asthma, allergic asthma is an autoimmune disease. Whereas non-allergic asthma is not! Allergic asthma secrets some kind of substance. The substance has potential to affect your own immune system reasoning to the serious condition it can become.
It is frequently asked, "Is Asthma is an autoimmune disease?" The answer is definitely YES! Asthma an allergic one, would be the reason for the worst condition countering against your own immune system.
Asthma and autoimmune disease are parallel to its effect. Almost same sort of features can be noticed in both diseases. You need to be aware about the effects of autoimmune disease. And if you have autoimmune disease?
People wonder about my relationship with Jesus...
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
I have lupus flare ups, some last for days and some last a lot longer. I've learned to depend my Lord and Savior
Now, some people ask me, "Why doesn't your Lord heal you?"
My answer to them and you is: Lupus has brought me much closer to the Lord and He has given me such a peace about the diseases. If He chooses to heal me that would be great... but, if He doesn't... that fine also!
All I know is...I can live with lupus... But,
I can't live without Jesus!
BELOW: God Will Make A Way