Your immune system is responsible for acting as a line of defense; when it detects a pathogen in the body, such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites, it will attack the offending agent but preserve the healthy cells. When the immune system is overactive, instead of protecting healthy cells, it attacks them. When there is an infection present in the body, your bone marrow produces white blood cells to fight the infection, but with autoimmune diseases, these white blood cells attack healthy tissue and cells instead of or in addition to the pathogen.
While doctors do not have conclusive evidence for why this occurs, it is believed that autoimmune diseases have their beginning from some type of virus, stress, genetic changes, hormonal changes, or exposure to a toxic chemical.
These immune diseases may present as allergies, MS, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, psoriasis, arthritis, cancer, and a host of other ailments. Currently, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, although there have been many inroads made with gene therapy, and stem cell therapy, these diseases are managed and not cured.
While it is not easy living with an autoimmune disease, there are many things that you can do to manage your ailment better. Inflammation seems to be a culprit in the flare-ups of most, if not all, autoimmune diseases. This is why doctors often treat flare-ups with steroids, and in more chronic and serious flare-ups, where permanent tissue damage is occurring, cancer drugs are often used. Some of the things you can do to reduce inflammation include,
- Get your rest. This allows the body to rid itself of toxins.
- Eat a diet that is high in antioxidants, which help the body cells repair themselves.
- Reduce your stress. This keeps your body out of an unnecessary fight or flight mode and reduces unhealthy fluctuations of hormones.
While these approaches may seem small and unimportant in the management of your autoimmune disease, those who have endured many flare-ups are often able to trace a relapse to the neglect of the above suggestions, and the remission of symptoms to the doing of the above suggestions.