An autoimmune disease occurs when the body makes antibodies against some of its normal tissues (autoantibodies). In other words, it fails to distinguish self from non-self cells. The immune system attacks the naturally existing body tissues by causing lymphocytes to become sensitized to the body's own tissues or causing normal body tissue to undergo changes that interfere with the immune system's ability to recognize it as a natural component of the body or the normal control process within the immune system malfunctions for unknown reasons. More women (75%) than men are affected by autoimmune diseases.
[...] lupus erythematosus (Lupus), Reiter syndrome, Hashimoto thryoiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Sjorgen syndrome, Addison Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Grave's Disease. Non-specific symptoms that may indicate an autoimmune disease include: fatigue, tiring quickly, dizziness, general malaise, weight loss and low-grade fever. There are two types: Organ-specific-- conditions damage a single organ or the function of that organ Examples include: Hashimoto's thyroiditis, thryrotoxicosis and primary myxedema—targets thyroid Good Pasture syndrome—targets lungs and kidneys Addison's Disease—targets adrenal glands Pernicious anemia—targets stomach Diabetes mellitus—targets pancreas Ulcerative colitis—targets colon Non organ-specific-- disorders cause damage throughout the body Examples include: Dermatomyositis—targets muscle Lupus/ Systemic lupus erythematosus—targets connective tissue, joints, kidneys Scleroderma- targets skin Rheumatoid Arthritis- targets joints Focus on Rheumatoid Arthritis The word arthritis is derived from the Greek word arthron meaning joint and the suffix itis meaning inflammation. [...]
[...] Women are more likely to have an autoimmune disease than men. More research is being done to improve treatment and alleviate the aspects of these numerous disorders that affect one's life. SOURCES: American Medical Association Complete Medical Encyclopedia, Leikin, Jerrold B. MD and Lipsky, Martin S. MD., pg. 211- The Autoimmune Connection, Baron-Faust, Rita and Buyon, Jill, MD The Merck Manual of Medical Information Encyclopedia of Women's Health Issues, Gay Kathleen, p. 30- “Does diet have a role in the aetiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis?,” Pattison, Symmons and Young. [...]
[...] Cause While no one knows the real cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis, some scientists believe that genetic predisposition, environmental triggers, hormonal factors and joint injury may all lead to a case of RA. Genetically, there have been some RA-linked genes found including the DR4 molecule. Environmental factors include smoking and drinking coffee (both increase the incidence of RA) as well as viral or bacterial infections such as Epstein-Barr, Streptococci, Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Helicobacter pylori. There may be a hormonal link because when women are pregnant, RA symptoms lessen. [...]
[...] A good diet, plenty of exercise, reduced stress can all help to ease the discomfort. “Fish oil supplements have been found to have a beneficial effect on the symptoms of established RA There is evidence that RA is less severe in the southern Mediterranean countries, such as Italy and Greece, where oil-rich fish, fruit, vegetables and olive oil are consumed in greater amounts than in many other countries.”5 Someone who has one autoimmune disease is at greater risk for developing another. [...]
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