Autoimmune disease: The body at war with itself

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Autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body attacks itself, health experts told Fox News. Recently, autoimmune disease scleroderma was on the headlines after the death of actor / comedian Bob Saget, who was trying to find a cure for a condition that took his sister’s life.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIAID, more than 80 diseases occur as a result of the body’s own immune system, which attacks its own tissues, cells, and authorities. Autoimmune Association he says that autoimmune diseases affect more than 24 million people in the United States.

Photo of a businesswoman with arthritis in her wrist.
(iStock)

Health experts told Fox that the immune system is supposed to protect the body from the intrusion of pathogens such as viruses or bacteria by producing antibodies or white blood cells called lymphocytes. In a healthy individual, the immune response is not triggered to fight the body’s own cells or tissues. Under certain conditions, however, immune cells can inadvertently attack the actual cells that are supposed to protect them. Usually, these lymphocytes are suppressed, but when they are not, this can lead to various types of autoimmune conditions, health experts explained to Fox News.

File photo of women's feet suffering from arthritis.

File photo of women’s feet suffering from arthritis.
(iStock)

According to the Autoimmune Association, an autoimmune disorder can also occur when there is a change in body tissue where the immune system no longer perceives that tissue as “self” and then becomes the target of an attack.

The association says it is not yet known what mechanisms caused the change to trigger the attack, but they say viruses, toxins, bacteria and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune response in someone who is genetically predisposed to developing the condition.

Autoimmune diseases vary in severity and mode of attack on the body. Some autoimmune conditions are more prevalent throughout the body, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) and some forms of scleroderma that can affect cartilage, joints and tissues, affecting quality of life, health experts told Fox News.

Another autoimmune conditions they can target primarily one organ, such as the thyroid gland (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), the pancreas (type 1 diabetes) and the liver (primary biliary cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis), autoimmune experts explained to Fox News.

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Meredith Stone is a patient who has primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). PBC is an autoimmune Health experts told Fox News that a disease that attacks the bile ducts of the liver creates scars and can cause liver failure.

“He thinks that inside is this war where my body is attacking my liver and I can’t control it, it just confuses me,” Stone told Fox News.

Stone jokingly said he wanted her doctors she can figure out what caused the quarrel between her body and her liver to be resolved.

This argument is a question that plagues many physicians and researchers treating patients with autoimmune diseases.

Experts say the most common culprits of arthritis are the hips and knees.

Experts say the most common culprits of arthritis are the hips and knees.
(iStock)

Douglas Dieterich is Professor of Medicine in the Department of Liver Diseases in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City. Dieterich treats several types of autoimmune liver disease, including PBC, and told Fox News that “autoimmune diseases are often genetically transmitted.”

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NIAID experts say the cause is autoimmune diseases remains unknown and notes, “Human genes, combined with infections and other environmental exposures, are likely to play an important role in disease development.”

Health experts told Fox News that there are no known cures for autoimmune diseases, but there are some treatments that can help slow the progression of these chronic diseases.

Dieterich told Fox News that many autoimmune diseases are treated with immunosuppressants, which are drugs that lower an individual’s immune response.

Although you medicines give some hope while a cure has yet to be found, it puts patients in an immunocompromised state. This condition with a weakened immune system is something you need to watch out for when you are exposed to colds, flu and during today’s COVID pandemics, doctors warned.

“This will make patients more susceptible to infections like COVID, and more or less likely to respond to vaccinations,” Dieterich told Fox News.

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Although researchers have made considerable progress, NIAID says much remains to be learned. Currently, NIAID supports a wide range of research to improve our understanding of autoimmune diseases.

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