HomeHealthWhat are autoimmune diseases and how to recognize them
What are autoimmune diseases and how to recognize them
June 9, 2020
Every time we get sick, we hope it was due to external factors. The common thing is that it is by viruses, bacteria or other infectious agents. We would never imagine that if we are sick, it is our own body that is causing it. Well, that is precisely what happens when you have an autoimmune disease.
What are autoimmune diseases?
They are pathological conditions in which the immune system itself attacks our body instead of protecting us, injuring organs and other body tissues. When one of these conditions occurs, in reality, the person's own immune system becomes their worst enemy.
Now, in this article we will tell you what the causes are, how to recognize them, how they are diagnosed and what some of these diseases are. We will also talk about some of these diseases that usually affect the weight of those who suffer from them.
Causes of autoimmune diseases
Under normal conditions, our immune system can recognize foreign agents that can harm us and defends us from them. When an autoimmune disease occurs, what happens is that the immune system shows an exaggerated response.
Then it begins to see its own as strange and to attack and destroy the cells of the organism as if they were foreign invaders. Many times the damage can be systemic, such as what happens with Lupus erythematosus that produces varied and abundant clinical manifestations.
Other times the damage and attacks could be focused on only one type of cell, as is the case with Diabetes Mellitus I.
Triggers for autoimmune diseases
There are several factors that could trigger an autoimmune disease and it will depend on each disease. For example, in the case of Diabetes Mellitus, one of its main causes may be a genetic or hereditary factor. But there are other factors such as: environmental, infections, medications, immunizations, nutritional deficiencies, toxins and chemical substances. Also hygiene habits, socioeconomic, hormonal, psychological and climatic factors. All of these factors could inappropriately activate the immune system.
One of the main causes of this type of disease is the leaky gut:
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How to recognize them?
This type of condition is usually identified by the abnormal presence of persistent and characteristic manifestations. When this happens, the pertinent studies will be ordered to make the diagnosis of autoimmune disease, depending on the diagnostic suspicion.
In some cases, the symptoms vary according to the pathology, its aggressiveness, where the immune response and the genetic background of the person are located. The manifestations are almost always:
– Chronic fatigue
– Joint and muscle pain
– General discomfort
– Weight loss or gain
– Neurological disorders
All this makes the patient think that something is wrong with his body.
How are autoimmune diseases diagnosed?
To make an accurate and reliable diagnosis, the study of autoantibodies is necessary. Although, these tests are almost always ordered when the clinical manifestations of the patient make one suspect the presence of an autoimmune disease.
In addition, it is necessary to know the characteristics of each disease, frequency by age groups, medical history, and genetic history. All this will help establish the probability that the person has one of these diseases. Then, the diagnostic suspicion can be specified in order to carry out the corresponding studies based on all these data.
The most common autoimmune diseases
Currently there are more than 80 of these diseases. Some are very rare and unknown because of how infrequently they appear in individuals. But there are some that are well known and more common due to their prevalence and the degree to which they compromise the patient's life.
These are some of the most common:
There are many, many autoimmune diseases. Here we will describe just a few.
Type I Diabetes Mellitus
This type of diabetes is the one that usually manifests itself in childhood or in very young individuals. It is sometimes even sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes. The immune system attacks the B cells of the pancreas, affecting insulin production.
Since the body cannot use glucose correctly, the kidneys eliminate it massively along with proteins through the urine. Symptoms such as excessive thirst and hunger, polyuria, and dehydration occur. You have serious complications such as retinopathy, kidney failure, and cardiovascular problems.
This disease is caused by the gluten intolerance that some people suffer from. These people cannot consume wheat, barley, rye and oats or any product that contains them. The cells of the intestine attack the inner lining of the intestine causing inflammation and frequent abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Fibromyalgia is also included in autoimmune diseases and is known as a syndrome. It consists of a condition that alters the perception of pain and interprets as stimulating sensations, stimuli that are not. But the person usually manifests a lot of generalized skeletal muscle pain and also muscle stiffness. It causes other diffuse symptoms such as swelling of the feet and hands and a tingling sensation in the hands.
It can cause pain, fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, irritable colon, menstrual cramps, depression and sleep disorders.
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
Thyroid diseases have to do with the immune system attacking the cells of the thyroid gland by altering the production of thyroid hormone. When the production of the hormone increases, it is called hyperthyroidism, on the contrary, when there is not enough production of the thyroid hormone, it is called hypothyroidism.
It is an autoimmune disease that mainly affects women. It is also known as Chronic Lymphocytic Thyroiditis and is almost always caused by thyroid hypoactivity or hypothyroidism. Among its various symptoms including fatigue, dry skin, inflammation of the gland and tongue, weight gain and obesity are also counted. The most common cause of hypothyroidism in children and adolescents is Hashimoto's disease.
Although these conditions do not have a cure and it is not possible to prevent them, good control and awareness of the disease usually improves the state and quality of life of these patients. That's why we recommend that you seek medical help if you start experiencing symptoms that seem to be unexplained.
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