Understanding Autoimmune Diseases
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disease, including the more common ones, such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and myasthenia gravis, among others.
The immune system is your body’s most specialized defense mechanism to protect you from any foreign invaders, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Because it protects you from diseases and infections, and keeps you in optimum health, the immune system requires an intricate network of optimum functioning of many different cells and organs in your body. To boost immune system, you must keep your cells and organs healthy. Cells make up your body organs. When cells die, your organs fail, disease sets in and health deteriorates, and you age and die.
As you age, your immune system also becomes weaker, as evidenced by the high incidence of influenza and pneumonia after age 25, not to mention among the elderly.
What is autoimmunity?
The immune system is created to protect you from diseases and infections. Unfortunately, sometimes the immune system may go awry and attack the body itself, instead of protecting it. These misdirected immune responses are referred to as autoimmunity. In other words, the immune system attacks itself in the form of autoimmune disease, which can affect many parts of the body, including the nerves, muscles, endocrine system (controlling the body’s hormones and other chemicals), and the digestive system. Essentially, autoimmunity can affect almost any organ or part of the body system. The exact type of autoimmune disease one may have as one continues to age depends on which body tissues that are being targeted by the immune system. For example, if the joints are attacked, severe joint pain, stiffness, and loss of joint function may occur.
Many of the diseases associated with autoimmunity are often chronic, requiring lifelong care and monitoring, and they tend to develop as aging continues. Therefore, it is important to enhance immune system against autoimmunity at any age.
Autoimmunity symptoms may vary according to the types of autoimmune disease. In addition, many autoimmune diseases do not show a clear pattern of disease symptoms. Furthermore, autoimmunity symptoms may also come and go. For these reasons, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose the type of autoimmune disease. Diagnosis, however, can usually be made by using medical history (the genetic factor), physical examination (obvious signs of physical and muscular weaknesses), and medical tests (blood sample for autoimmunity antibodies).
Who are at risk for autoimmunity?
As with any disease, there are risk factors associated with autoimmunity, as well as triggers of the development of an autoimmune disease.
Women are more susceptible to autoimmunity than men are. Autoimmune disease strikes women more than it strikes men, particularly women of working age and during their child-bearing years.
The genes of parents who have developed an autoimmune disease may increase the risk factor for autoimmunity.
Viruses, due to a weakened or compromised immune system, may also contribute to the development of an autoimmune disease.
What are the autoimmunity triggers?
The No.1 autoimmunity trigger is stress. Emotional stress, mental stress, and physical stress may trigger autoimmunity, in particular when the immune system is weak.
Other autoimmunity triggers may include behavior and wayward lifestyle, such as alcohol addiction and nicotine consumption.
How to enhance immune system?
Scientists have discovered that the healthy functioning of the immune system is dependent on your own behavior. In other words, the efficiency of your immune system depends on how well you live. More specifically, foods, herbs, and lifestyle factors all play a pivotal part in the health of your immune system. Therefore, only YOU can enhance immune system because only YOU are responsible for your own health.
We are living in a culture that relies on external means for healing, such as the use of pills, potions, and surgeries. What is missing in the Western medical system is the philosophy that the body is capable of protecting itself against any illness, as well as healing itself of the illness, and that the role of the physician is to promote the self-healing process of the patient to re-establish health and wellness. Without this missing link, the immune system becomes compromised and vulnerable.
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau