Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own healthy tissues and organs. There are over 80 different types of autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes.
The exact causes of autoimmune diseases are still being researched, but genetics, environmental triggers, and infections are known contributing factors. While not curable, the symptoms of many autoimmune diseases can be managed through various treatment approaches.
What Causes Autoimmune Diseases?
While the root causes are not fully understood, these elements contribute to the development of autoimmunity:
Family history plays a strong role. Defective genes that regulate immune function can be passed down.
➜ Hormonal influences
Sex hormones and the balance between them are thought to influence risk. Most conditions are more prevalent in women.
➜ Environmental triggers
Factors like viruses, bacteria, toxins, and medications are possible triggers that initiate abnormal immune responses.
➜ Digestive factors
Increased gut permeability allowing antigens to reach the bloodstream and activate immune cells plays a role.
How Are Autoimmune Diseases Diagnosed?
Diagnosis involves reviewing symptoms, medical history, and family history combined with a physical examination and several tests:
The Conventional Treatment Approach for Autoimmune Diseases
The Role Of Diet In Treating Autoimmune Diseases
Emerging research shows promise for dietary and lifestyle changes as complementary treatment for managing autoimmune disorders by reducing inflammation.
While more research is still needed, conventional medical treatments combined with complementary dietary, lifestyle, and stress management approaches offer hope to the millions suffering from autoimmune conditions. A holistic management plan tailored to the individual provides the best chance for an improved quality of life.
There is currently no definitive cure for autoimmune diseases. The goal is to manage symptoms through medications and lifestyle changes.
Fatigue is a common symptom in several autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
In some cases, the onset of autoimmune symptoms can seem sudden, but the disease process develops over time, usually without noticeable symptoms initially.
Some research indicates that autoimmune diseases are on the rise. Possible reasons include increased awareness and diagnosis, environmental factors, and food sensitivities.
Yes, having one autoimmune disease increases your risk of developing additional autoimmune conditions, especially if the root causes are not addressed.