Our environment contains literally thousands of pathogenic microorganisms such as: viruses, fungi, parasites and bacteria. Normally our body defense system can protect us from these by means of our immune response, but in the modern world, more and more often our systems get out of balance resulting in a malfunction of the system so that our bodies react to our own normal tissues as if they are unwanted invaders. As well we can be subjected to outside stimuli which can inappropriately trigger our immune system.
This inappropriate reaction is known as an autoimmune disorder where our defense system actually becomes destructive rather than protective. There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disorders.
Organs and tissues commonly affected by autoimmune disorders include: red blood cells, blood vessels, connective tissues, endocrine glands such as the thyroid or pancreas, muscles, joints and skin.
Some of the most common autoimmune diseases include: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus Erythematosus, Aids, Type 1 Diabetes, Guillain Barre syndrome, Celiac disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Sjogrens syndrome, Poriasis, Inflammatory bowel disease and Addisons disease. Asthma and Crohns disease also result from an over reaction of the immune system.
Cause of Autoimmune diseases.
The causes of autoimmunity are not well understood although it is known that there is some genetic factor involved. Other factors include; hormonal influences and environmental stimuli such as sun exposure, infections, pregnancy or drugs.
Diagnosis of Autoimmune Disorders.
Symptoms of autoimmune disorders can come and go and may not follow a clear pattern therefore a diagnosis needs to include family history, laboratory tests for antibodies, radiographs and a physical examination. Approximately 75% of patients are female and they are often affected during their child bearing years.
Treatment of Autoimmune Disorders
There is no real cure so generally treatment focuses on relieving symptoms.
Immunosuppressant drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain killers and natural therapies are used. Recent research shows clearly that a disturbance in the body's Redox homeostasis (balance) plays a significant part I autoimmune disorders. In fact Redox signaling plays a key regulatory role in the adaptive immune system. Hence supplementation with Redox signaling molecules may well have a profound effect on some of these conditions.
If the autoimmune disorder affects the blood, transfusions may be required.In the case of AIDS, infected T cells a component of the immune system are cleared to prevent the spread of HIV. Unfortunately this results in the progressive destruction of the immune system itself. In severe combined immunodeficiency, lack of an enzyme means that toxic waste builds up inside immune system cells, killing them and thus devastating the immune system.