One of the most important thing that you should do in order to stay healthy is to keep your immune system in good condition.
You must know by now that a weak immune system could put your health at risk. There are a lot of readings you may check out that could help you take care of your immune system.
However, there are still inevitable instances wherein our immune system needs saving too – most especially when you’re dealing with autoimmune diseases.
What is an autoimmune disease?
Autoimmune diseases make your body attack itself.
These diseases could cause your immune system to invade all the healthy cells present in your body.
Generally speaking, there are a lot of autoimmune diseases and most of their symptoms are quite similar. Doctors couldn’t even ace the causes of autoimmune diseases. However, these diseases are most likely to occur in certain ethnic groups and pregnant women. They are also said to be active if such diseases run in the family.
Some research even suggests that possible factors of these autoimmune diseases could be environmental. While some would say that dietary changes or diet routines could contribute to such cases too.
Let’s try to look at the most common types of autoimmune diseases.
Type 1 Diabetes
In order to regulate healthy blood sugars, the pancreas is the one responsible for producing hormone insulin. But with the case of autoimmune diseases, the immune system destroys the pancreas. This then results in severe illnesses such as type 1 diabetes, heart failure, kidney failure, and a lot more.
When the immune system cells start to attack the joints, it results in different kinds of discomfort such as inflammation, swelling, and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis could also lead to severe joint damage in the long run. However, this could also be treated right away by simply consulting a doctor about it.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)
Lupus is commonly known as a skin disease. However, patients diagnosed with lupus could develop autoimmune diseases that could attack their joints, lungs, blood cells, kidney, and nerves.
Autoimmune diseases attack the myelin sheath – the protective coat around the nerve cells. Such damage could impact not only the transmission of messages between the body and the brain but could also cause numbness, balance issues, and even weakness.
Due to autoimmune diseases, psoriasis could cause the skin cells to increase in number. This results to the formation of scales on the skin – red visible patches.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
IBD could probably be the reason behind tummy discomforts such as diarrhea, irregular bowel movements, and bleeding. This is because the immune system attacks the lining of the intestines causing inflammation.
Grave’s disease invades the thyroid gland in the neck. Having said, the thyroid gland would produce too much thyroid hormones – resulting in weight loss, heat intolerance, and nervousness are to name a few.
Similar to Grave’s Disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis also attacks the thyroid gland. The only difference is, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis attacks the cells responsible for thyroid hormone production. Low count of thyroid hormone could cause fatigue, depression, weight gain, constipation, and dry skin.
The immune system attacks the blood vessels of the body causing less blood to flow. Vasculitis could affect any kind of organ on the body and could also cause inflammation.
Myasthenia gravis caused by autoimmune diseases attack the nerves that are responsible in helping the brain control muscles. Having said, nerve damage could cause slow progress and movement on the muscles.
Symptoms of autoimmune disease
Since autoimmune diseases could target different kinds of organ in the body, the impact it could cause to various parts of the body is not far from impossible.
As highlighted above, there are a lot of autoimmune diseases. However, most of the symptoms of these diseases are quite similar.
Check out the following:
- Skin Rashes
- Brain fog
- Swelling and redness
- Muscle pain
Autoimmune disease treatment
When it comes to diagnosing autoimmune diseases, the doctor must first conduct a series of tests and assessments to further check the condition of the disease. A single test is not enough to confirm an autoimmune disease that is why the doctor will have to use your symptoms to diagnose the disease properly.
In order to confirm an autoimmune disease, the doctor will have to conduct tests to check for autoantibodies produced by such diseases. However, the first test that your doctor could possibly assess is the antinuclear antibody test or the ANA. This test is conducted if the current symptoms are showing signs of autoimmune diseases. Thus, a positive blood test from the ANA could confirm an autoimmune disease.
After a series of diagnosis, your doctor could then prescribe you some drugs that could help control the inflammation. Some of the drugs that you can use in treating autoimmune diseases are listed below.
- Immunosuppressant drugs: these are drugs that could help reduce or increase the strength of the immune system
- Over-the-counter Anti Inflammatory drugs: drugs that could help reduce inflammation and could help lessen the pain such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen
Symptoms of the autoimmune diseases have the tendency to overlap. This is the reason why such diseases are hard to detect and diagnose. However, in order to fight off these diseases, the patient will have to take prescribed drugs to control the overactive response of the immune system. These medications could also help reduce the inflammation.