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An Introduction To Auto Immune Diseases

Dec 04, 2018 11:52 AM EST

Science and society still has much to learn about immune system disorders. We do know that there are many types of them that generally act in similar ways, in that the body's immune system is behaving abnormally. This could be through lowered activity or over-activity. A lowered immune system is not as capable of fighting off infections. When the immune system is too active, it attacks the body and its organs and tissues, rather than warding off disease and illness. This is called an 'auto-immune' disease. Treatments involve either boosting the immune system for the former or trying to supress it for the latter.

There is help available for you or your family members living with immune disorders. These include regular medical check-ups, prescription medication and treatments, and home care services for your family that can assist the Client and their loved ones. For those experiencing limited mobility, lowered energy levels, inhibited functioning, and other symptoms, regular appointments with a Registered Practical Nurse or another Registered Professional, or the regular assistance of a live-in Caregiver, can be a major help to Clients and their loved ones.

Many people live with auto immune diseases. Some common types include:

Rheumatoid Arthritis. The immune system attacks antibodies attached to the joints. This causes inflammation and pain and may permanently damage the joints.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Nerve cells are attacked by the immune system causing muscle pain and spasms, weakness, reduced coordination, and possibly blindness.

Lupus. Antibodies produced by the immune system attach to various tissues and organs in the body. Immune system cells then attack these vital organs and other areas which can cause serious complications. Lungs, kidneys, nerves, joints, and blood cells are common areas.

Type 1 Diabetes. Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are attacked by the immune system.

There are over 100 autoimmune disorders, so many of them do not receive as much attention and awareness as the above. Some lesser known conditions include:

Graves' Disease. A condition of the thyroid gland wherein it produces hormones in excess.

Raynaud's Phenomenon. Cold temperatures or strong emotions cause blood vessel spasms, blocking blood flow to the extremities.

Achalasia. Nerve damage causes difficulties with food and drink successfully moving into the stomach.

Takayasu's Arteritis. Affects the aorta (the largest blood vessel) and its branches.

Evan's Syndrome. The immune system attacks red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood platelets.

Talking about auto immune disorders, and health conditions of any sort, can be difficult and even disturbing. However, it is important to raise awareness of such conditions and their symptoms. The more the public knows about the various kinds of symptoms and living conditions others may be living with, the higher the chances of identification, plus the ability to empathize with those who are, or may be, experiencing them. Immune conditions are not fully understood, and they are not always obvious or apparent in others. If you notice any changes in your health or the health of someone you know, it is important to speak to a medical practitioner and/or one's personal Caregiver.

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