The human body includes a complex network of cells, organs, and blood (known as the “immune system”) that defends it against diseases, viruses, bacteria, and other harmful external tissues.
Such external tissues contain antigens. When the immune system does its usual job, it produces antibodies that fight and destroy these antigens, eliminating harmful substances from our bodies.
But, under certain disorders, the immune system becomes disturbed and begins to attack the body’s healthy cells. The reason for these disorders is not precisely known, but some experts believe that the reason may be due to bacteria and viruses, which make changes that confuse the immune system. When this happens, the immune system cannot differentiate between malignant tissues and healthy tissues, and so it begins to fight healthy tissues.
Such disorders are known as “autoimmune diseases,” and many studies are conducted in this field to understand unexplained factors behind them. Let us also try to find out as much as we can about these disorders through this article.
Types of autoimmune diseases
Autoimmunity causes more than 80 known types of illnesses that are common as well as rare. The list given below includes some of the most commonly known autoimmune diseases:
This disease causes the immune system to attack thyroid cells, leading to inflammation and stopping the gland from secreting its hormones. This disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
Under this disease, the immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation and increasing tissue thickness within the joints. It results in swelling and joint pain, and if the swelling is not treated quickly, the cartilage and tissue covering the bone in the joints may be damaged, and possibly the bones themselves.
In this situation, again, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which leads to the release of more hormones. This causes symptoms like an enlarged thyroid, tension, swollen eyes, and weight loss.
SLE can affect any organ in the body. It appears in various forms, such as rashes, inflammation of the kidneys, and mental and neurological disorders.
Type 1 diabetes
Under this condition, the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which leads to high blood sugar.
Everyone is at risk, but there are risk factors
- Family history
- Unknown microorganisms (bacteria and antibiotics that aren’t a part of the healthy system)
- The balance of the “gut flora” (microorganisms in the human intestine which provide the immune function to the body and also defend it. This defense occurs as a result of an imbalance in the gut flora caused by environmental or genetic factors)
- Some diets (saturated fats and salts are linked to increased incidents of autoimmune diseases)
Your immune system is robust and can fight quite many diseases, but it may also use its strength against you for an unknown reason. Doctors all over the world are trying to solve this mystery once and for all.