Why a person develops an autoimmune disorder is still one of the medicals mysteries. What is an autoimmune disorder? It is a disorder that causes one’s immune system which normally protects one’s body to actually turn against the body and creates its own diseases.
More than 80 conditions can fall under the category of an autoimmune disorder. Some of these disorders effects the nervous system. (multiple sclerosis). Some of these disorders effect the tissues of our body (rheumatoid and lupus). These disorders cause problems with our intestinal tracts (inflamed bowel disease).
With all autoimmune disorders, the body reacts differently than it does with normal diseases and disorders. With normal disorders, the body is reacting to an outside influence and it attacks, thus the disorder begins. In autoimmune disorders the body is reacting to something that is happening within the body’s itself (inside the body, with no outside influences). Yet, an outside influence such as a virus can cause the autoimmune disorder to erupt faster than it normally would. For example, if a person with an underlying autoimmune disorder develops a virus such as strep throat, that virus may set off the disorder and the patient may begin showing symptoms of the disorder faster.
Some doctors are now believe that people may be born with a certain gene that may cause certain autoimmune disorders. (Lupus for example). This gene may be a heredity trait. But more research needs to be done on each different disorder to understand this theory better.
Doctors also believe that there are many contributing factors that work together that cause these disorders. Another theory, is the sex of the patient. Females are 2.7 times more likely to develop an autoimmune disorder. Doctors also have come to the conculsion that autoimmune disorders and factors relating to them is the eighth leading cause of death of women between the ages of 15-64. Why? Doctors believe it is the difference between the hormones of males and females. The chances of women developing an autoimmune disorder peaks during her reproductive years. For this reason, it seems that estrogen may be the cause of the why autoimmune disorder effect women more.
The most common autoimmune disorders are:
This disorder effects about 2 million Americans. It is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the body’s tissues and organs. It can affect one’s skin, joints and kidney’s, and other organs of one’s body. It affects women 9 times more than men. It usually affects women from the ages of 15 and 44.
Signs and symptoms of lupus can vary from aching joins, swelling, fever, fatigue to many other ailments.
Treatment for Lupus depends on the symptoms.
This autoimmune disorder effects the thyroid gland. Our thyroid gland is responsible for regulating our body’s metabolism.
Graves Disease affects about 2 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 40.
Symptoms of Graves Disease includes weight loss, trouble sleeping, fatigue, muscle weakness and rapid heart rate.
Treatment for Graves Disease usually starts with treating the thyroid gland.
Hashimoto’s Disease also affects the thyroid gland. It causes the gland to become swollen and irritated. This keeps the thyroid from making enough of the hormones it needs to for the body.
It generally affects women between the ages of 30 to 50.
Symptoms of this disorder can include sensitivity to coldness, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, depression, and joint pain and stiffness.
Treatment will include thyroid treatment, daily.
This is a very painful disease. It affects about 2.1 million Americans. Of these Americans, 70 percent of them are women. When one has Rheumatoid Arthritis they have severe inflammation around the area of their joints. This inflammation can occur in a number of different joints throughout one’s body. As the inflammation continues, damage can occur to the joints and the cartilage surrounding the joint.
Symptoms of this disorder includes pain and swelling around different joints, fatigue, stiffness and even flu like symptoms.
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition.
Diabetes Type 1
When one has this type of diabetes, their immune system begins to kill off cells that produce insulin that are located in the pancreas. Without the right amount of insulin the body isn’t able to move sugar (glucose) in one’s blood to the cell’s, as it needs to do produce fuel for the body. This type of diabetes usually begins before the age of 30.
Symptoms include increase thirst, frequent urination , weight loss, and fatigue.
Treatment is daily insulin injections.
As you can see, autoimmune disorders can be very serious. Doctors and researchers are doing research every day to try to learn more about them. Various treatment options are available for each disorder. But as of yet, no cure has been found for any of the disorders.