WHAT IS AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE?
The immune system acts as a barrier between infection and our body so that body doesn't acquire any infection from outside. Whenever the body senses an invader (microbes- bacterias, viruses, fungus, etc), the immune system is sensitized and it sends fighter cells to attack them.
Normally the body has a sense of differentiation between the foreign infectious cells and the normal body cells. But when the body starts to attack the normal body cells mistakenly then it is called an autoimmune disease.
The immune system can attack the joints, skin, hair, liver, etc by producing antibodies against them taking them as a foreign invader. Sometimes only one organ is attacked e.g. pancreas in type 1 diabetes and sometimes it can be a syndrome also where it affects the whole body e.g. SLE.
WHY DOES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM ATTACK ITSELF?
The exact cause of this is not known and there is no exact explanation as to why does immune system turns hostile. But obviously few patients are affected more than others e.g. females are affected more than males. Then there could be a genetic link as well as these diseases are seen to be running in families. The environment also has something to do with it as exposure to infections and chemicals might increase the risk. If you have one autoimmune disease in your body then there are chances that you might develop another autoimmune disorder too.
WHO ARE AT RISK?
ACQUIRING AN INFECTION- it is seen that once you had any infection e.g covid, it sensitizes the immune system, and then it overreacts to the normal body cells.
UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE: unhealthy lifestyle like a bad diet and lack of proper and timely sleep may predispose your body to autoimmune disorders.
OBESITY: This can also hold you at risk to acquire an autoimmune disease.
STRESS: stress, anxiety, depression can also predispose the body to react negatively
SMOKING AND ALCOHOL: these can also increase the chances of the immune system turning hostile if consumed in large quantities.
FAMILY HISTORY: having a family history of the autoimmune disorder can increase the chances of you acquiring them.
CERTAIN MEDICATION: medicines like antibiotics, medicines for blood pressure can also trigger the immune system inappropriately.
LACK OF EXERCISE: sedentary lifestyle can also be a risk factor for autoimmune disorders.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS?
Early symptoms of autoimmune disorders overlap. They could be:
Then symptoms vary on the basis of the organ affected.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE AN AUTOIMMUNE DISORDER?
There is no single test that can diagnose autoimmune disorders. A combination of tests along with a medical history, family history with symptoms can help in making the diagnosis. A positive ANA test suggests the presence of autoimmune disorders but specific antibodies are looked for to come for the diagnosis of a particular autoimmune disorder. For example, Anti TPO is done for diagnosing Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
Along with all this, CRP and ESR are also checked as it shows the presence of inflammation in the body because of autoimmune disorders.
Raised TLC, DLC also indicated a sensitized immune system.
HOW AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS ARE TREATED CONVENTIONALLY?
Conventional treatment in the allopathic system includes NSAIDs and immunosupperesants that can apparently lower down the immune system by suppression but can't be used in the long run as they have massive side effects on the patient.
HOW ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF TREATMENT CAN HELP IN TREATING AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS?
Homeopathy is the second most used method of treatment throughout the world. In homeopathy, the medicines are individual-based and don't cause any suppression or side effects. The medicine once administered works on the immune system to rectify it and prevents it from damaging the body. Homeopathy has no side effects and can be used in long run without any fear. So homeopathy is a safe, gentle, and scientific method of treatment that can help in treating autoimmune disorders without side effects.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS?
There are more than 80 autoimmune disorders diagnosed to date. Commonly seen autoimmune disorders are: