An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. There are more than 80 varieties of autoimmune disorders. In this article, we consider the causes of autoimmune diseases and their treatment.
First, what you need to know about autoimmune diseases is a disease of the immune system. If you have an autoimmune disease, somewhere along the way your immunity has become an outcast and has begun to attack your own tissues. In some cases, this is your thyroid gland under attack, in others, it is your intestines, your skin, your brain, pancreas, or other organs.
But no matter what part of your body is under siege, your immunity is the culprit. This means that to cure, prevent, and reverse autoimmune disease, you need to get your immune system back under control.
However, within our modern medical system, these disorders are not recognized as diseases of the immune system as a whole. Instead, they are analyzed as diseases of individual organs. Unfortunately, this means that for the treatment of autoimmune conditions there is no single industry in conventional medicine. With cancer, for example, we have cancer experts called oncologists who treat many types of different types of cancer, regardless of which organ system they use. Yes, there are some sub-specialties in oncology, but they, as a rule, still fall under one main oncological umbrella.
If, on the other hand, you suffer from an autoimmune disease, you will see a specialist who focuses on the affected organ system: a rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis; endocrinologist for Hashimoto and diabetes, gastroenterologist for celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn; dermatologist for psoriasis; and so on
If you have several autoimmune conditions, like many people have, you will see several different specialists, each of whom is likely to prescribe a different medicine.
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Causes of Autoimmune Diseases
Blood cells in the body’s immune system help protect against harmful substances. Examples include bacteria, viruses, toxins, cancer cells, as well as blood and tissues outside the body. These substances contain antigens. The immune system produces antibodies against these antigens, which can destroy these harmful substances.
When you have an autoimmune disorder, your immune system does not distinguish between healthy tissue and antigens. As a result, the body begins a reaction that destroys normal tissues.
The exact cause of autoimmune disorders is unknown. One theory is that certain microorganisms (such as bacteria or viruses) or drugs can cause changes that confuse the immune system. This can happen more often in people who have certain genes, making them more susceptible to autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune disease can cause:
- Destruction of body tissue.
- Abnormal organ growth.
- Changes in organ function.
An autoimmune disorder can affect one or more types of organs or tissues. In the area often affected by autoimmune disorders, it includes:
- Blood vessel.
- Connective tissue.
- Endocrine glands, such as the thyroid or pancreas.
- The muscles.
- Red blood cells.
A person can have several autoimmune disorders at the same time. Common autoimmune disorders include:
- Addison’s disease.
- Celiac disease – sprue.
- Graves’ disease.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Myasthenia gravis
- Pernicious anemia.
- Reactive arthritis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Type I Diabetes
The development of therapies for autoimmune diseases
The treatment of autoimmune disorders includes three main approaches:
- Therapies to improve signs and symptoms.
- Therapies for changing the natural course and progression of the disease.
- Therapies aimed at complications arising from organ damage caused by a disease.
Medications used to treat.
Several groups of drugs are used to treat autoimmune diseases. Some of them include:
- Those that relieve symptoms such as pain and inflammation, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or painkillers.
- Corticosteroids are used to suppress immunity and prevent an exaggerated response.
- Those agents that are useful in replacing a deficient hormone or agent in the body. For example, the thyroid hormone is given in pill form for Hashimoto’s autoimmune or thyroiditis, and insulin is given as an injection to type 1 diabetics.
- Immunosuppressants are used to suppress the activity of the immune system.
- Anti – TNF – drugs are used to block inflammation and are used for autoimmune arthritis and psoriasis.
- Physical therapy aims to promote and maintain optimal mobility.
- Surgery can be chosen to replace a damaged joint or to treat bowel obstruction in case of Crohn’s disease.
There are several new approaches to the treatment of autoimmune disorders. The number of new approaches is growing due to ongoing stem cell research and genetic research.
More biological agents like existing anti-TNF agents, monoclonal antibodies, gene-based delivery systems, immune system modulators, and cellular therapies, tissue and organ building procedures are on the way to treating the causes of autoimmune diseases.
Therapies based on complementary and alternative medicine are also being studied in terms of their effectiveness and safety.
Stem cell transplantation.
Stem cell transplantation is a new and promising strategy. It aims to restore the immune system.
Several strategies are also being developed that are specific antigens, which can help in the disease, like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, SLE, and psoriatic arthritis.
In addition to developing new therapeutic goals, research is underway to develop new biomarkers for treating diseases. These biomarkers can help determine the stage, activity, and progression of a disease and help evaluate the response to therapy.
These biomarkers will also allow doctors to treat diseases to choose from the available treatment methods to ensure the best possible treatment.
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