Why Does The Immune System Attack The Body
Doctors dont know exactly what causes the immune-system misfire. Yet some people are more likely to get an autoimmune disease than others.
According to a 2014 study, women get autoimmune diseases at a rate of about 2 to 1 compared to men 6.4 percent of women vs. 2.7 percent of men. Often the disease starts during a womans childbearing years .
Some autoimmune diseases are more common in certain ethnic groups. For example, lupus affects more African-American and Hispanic people than Caucasians.
Certain autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and lupus, run in families. Not every family member will necessarily have the same disease, but they inherit a susceptibility to an autoimmune condition.
Because the incidence of autoimmune diseases is rising, researchers suspect environmental factors like infections and exposure to chemicals or solvents might also be involved.
A Western diet is another suspected risk factor for developing an autoimmune disease. Eating high-fat, high-sugar, and highly processed foods is thought to be linked to inflammation, which might set off an immune response. However, this hasnt been proven.
A 2015 study focused on another theory called the hygiene hypothesis. Because of vaccines and antiseptics, children today arent exposed to as many germs as they were in the past. The lack of exposure could make their immune system prone to overreact to harmless substances.
Disorders Youll Experience If You Have Autoimmune Disease
- Fatigue or feeling of tiredness
- Unbearable condition in cold as well as hot environment
- Affects different body organs, skin, joints
- Muscle pain, joint pain, abdominal pain and weakness
- Weight loss, hair loss and insomnia
- Reddening and irritating sensation on skin along with white patches
- Dry eyes and mouth also affecting kidney and lungs
- Difficulty in concentration, numbness in hands or feet
- Feeling of illness
- Ruin the secretion of pancreatic juice
These will happen to you if you have autoimmune disease. What could be the cause for these problems? Following are the some causes of the autoimmune disease.
An Overactive Immune System
If you are born with certain genes, your immune system may react to substances in the environment that are normally harmless. These substances are called allergens. Having an allergic reaction is the most common example of an overactive immune system. Dust, mold, pollen, and foods are examples of allergens.
Some conditions caused by an overactive immune system are:
Asthma. The response in your lungs can cause coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing. Asthma can be triggered by common allergens like dust or pollen or by an irritant like tobacco smoke.
Eczema. An allergen causes an itchy rash known as atopic dermatitis.
Allergic rhinitis. Sneezing, a runny nose, sniffling, and swelling of your nasal passages from indoor allergens like dust and pets or outdoor allergens like pollens or molds.
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Working Hypothesis Of Autoimmune
There is a growing body of evidence that cumulatively indicates the presence of autoimmune mechanisms underpinning disease severity in a subset of asthmatics, in particular, the late-onset non-atopic severe asthmatics. In fact, the underlying pathomechanism in this subset till date remains obscure and uncertain. Based on available evidence a plausible theory of breach of tolerance and localized autoantibody production has been schematically represented in Figure.
APC, antigen presenting cell ANA, anti-nuclear antibodies BAFF, B cell activating factor BCA-1, B cell attracting chemokine CSR, class switch recombination DAMP, danger-associated molecular pattern EET, eosinophil extracellular trap EPX, eosinophil peroxidase Ig, immunoglobulin IL, interleukin NET, neutrophil extracellular trap MC, mast cell MPO, myeloperoxidase.
How Can Asthma Affect Autoimmune Disease
There is limited research on the impact asthma can have on autoimmune conditions. Certain triggers like stress or extreme heat or cold can trigger asthma, as well as some autoimmune conditions.1
Some autoimmune diseases are also more common for people with asthma. The rate of diseases like type 1 diabetes, Crohns disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis are slightly higher for people with asthma. Though there may be a link here, it does not mean you are more likely to develop an autoimmune condition just because you have asthma. More research is needed to better understand this possible link.1
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Your Immune System And Asthma: What To Know
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Researchers now understand asthma is a disease associated with chronic underlying airway inflammation. And this inflammation is caused by an abnormal immune response. Considering this truth, I thought it would be neat to delve into a simple question: What is the immune system anyway? Heres what to know.
What Is Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune disease is a disease where the bodys immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. B cell receptors and T cell receptors of our body recognize bodys healthy tissue as antigen. So our immune system considers own body cell as foreign body and starts to act against it. Ultimately it causes a chronic inflammatory process and disrupts the normal function of the tissue.
Autoimmune disease affects 7 to 10 percent of persons in Europe and North America. The autoimmune disease causes disability and mortality.
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What Happens If I Have An Autoimmune Disease
There are many different autoimmune diseases with different treatments and consequences for people with these diseases. It is important to find out as much as possible about your autoimmune disease by asking questions of your treating doctor.
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Autoimmunity And Response To Asthma Therapy:
Research suggests that patients can respond differently to various therapies, and it can be affected by the presence of autoimmunity.
Such as, sometimes it is seen steroid subsentivity in severe asthma patients, here autoantibodies in the lung may be one mechanism that leads to steroid subsentivity in these patients.
The review authors mention that One of the potential mechanisms may be attributed to the increase in autoantibody titles in eosinophil rich tissue, and then the consequent auto antibody-induced eosinophil degranulation with EETs .
Also, increased doses of corticosteroid can decrease the lymphocytic infiltration and eosinophil count in autoimmune tissue, but it is not efficient to decrease the number of autoantibodies or to suppress their immediate mechanism of action on the effector cell such as eosinophils.
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What Can Go Wrong With Your Immune System
When your immune system doesn’t work the way it should, it is called an immune system disorder. You may:
Be born with a weak immune system. This is called primary immune deficiency.
Get a disease that weakens your immune system. This is called acquired immune deficiency.
Have an immune system that is too active. This may happen with an allergic reaction.
Have an immune system that turns against you. This is called autoimmune disease.
Response To Maintenance Therapy
Presence of autoantibodies in the lungs could be one of the mechanisms that contribute to the observed steroid subsensitivity in severe asthmatics . The prednisone-sparing effect of classical autoimmune drugs in severe eosinophilic prednisone-dependent patients with biopsy evidence of granulomas is indicative of the same, even though airway autoantibody titers were not investigated.54 One of the potential mechanisms may be attributed to the increase in autoantibody titers in an eosinophil-rich tissue, and the consequent autoantibody-induced eosinophil degranulation with EETs. As discussed earlier in previous section, the event was shown to be a steroid-unresponsive ex vivo,55 and therefore could explain the concurrent presence of high eosinophil activity and sputum autoantibodies despite intake of daily prednisone in those patients. In an autoimmune tissue, increased doses of corticosteroid will be able to reduce the lymphocytic infiltration and eosinophils, but will not be efficient in reducing the number of autoantibodies or suppressing their immediate mechanism of action on effector cells . Again, in the same microenvironment of increased IgG load, the cross-linking of Fc-gamma receptors on eosinophils can negatively affect glucocorticosteroid-induced apoptosis, promoting survival.90,91 Furthermore, earlier studies could address impaired response to bronchodilators in patients who showed circulating autoantibodies to beta-2-adrenergic receptors.13,17
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Risk Factors For Autoimmune Disorders
The exact causes of autoimmune disorders are not known. The risk factors seem to include:
- genetics a predisposition to autoimmune disorders seems to run in families. However, family members can be affected by different disorders for example, one person may have diabetes, while another has rheumatoid arthritis. It seems that genetic susceptibility alone is not enough to trigger an autoimmune reaction, and other factors must contribute.
- environmental factors a family’s susceptibility to autoimmune disorders may be linked to common environmental factors, perhaps working in conjunction with genetic factors.
- gender around three quarters of people with autoimmune disorders are women.
- sex hormones autoimmune disorders tend to strike during the childbearing years. Some disorders seem to be affected, for better or worse, by major hormonal changes such as pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.
- infection some disorders seem to be triggered or worsened by particular infections.
Infections’ Impact On Asthma
Asthma can be triggered by a variety of things. One of the most common triggers are infections, including respiratory viruses and, to a lesser degree, bacterial and fungal infections of the respiratory tract.
Respiratory viruses are the predominant infectious cause of asthma attacks. As the viruses attach to receptors on the lining of the airways, they effectively “trip the alarms” for the immune system to attack, leading to inflammation and the onset of acute asthma symptoms.
In some cases, the symptoms of the infection will precede the attack in others, the infection and asthma symptoms will co-occur.
Among the respiratory viruses closely link to asthma symptoms are:
- Rhinoviruses, the predominant cause of the common cold
- Coronaviruses, some of which cause colds
- Adenoviruses, associated with colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia
- Influenza viruses, associated with flu
- Parainfluenza viruses, which mainly affect infants and young children
- Respiratory syncytial virus , which most children get by the age of 2
Viral-induced asthma attack is extremely common, affecting roughly 85% of children and 50% of adults with asthma.
Less commonly, bacteria like Streptococcus pneumoniae, Hemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis have been known to trigger asthma attacks, particularly if a sinus infection is involved.
Fungal infections are more closely associated with poor asthma control rather than the onset of an attack, although it can occur.
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Allergies & Autoimmune Disease
People who have environmental or food allergies may have a higher risk of developing autoimmune disease. At the Allegheny Health Network Autoimmunity Institute, we offer specialized care for people with allergies, asthma, and many other autoimmune diseases.
We offer medical expertise from 15 types of autoimmune specialists in one convenient location. That way, you can easily address every way an allergy or other autoimmune condition impacts your health.
What Causes Autoimmune Diseases
Theres no definitive answer as to what causes autoimmune disease. But many scientists suspect the following three things play a role:
- And environmental factors including diet, toxins, and the balance of intestinal bacteria
In recent history, Westernized countries have seen significantly higher rates of these diseases suggesting that autoimmune diseases are not just a product of genetics or bad luck. Instead, the choices we make may strongly influence our chances of getting an autoimmune disease.
Lifestyle changes, particularly food choices, can play a key role in managing or even reversing many of these autoimmune diseases.
No established cures for autoimmune diseases exist.
But numerous studies have demonstrated that lifestyle changes, particularly food choices, can play a key role in managing or even reversing many of these autoimmune diseases.
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Autoimmune Diseases Include Common And Rare Diseases
Autoimmune diseases are a broad range of more than eighty related disorders, ranging from common to very rare. They affect around 5% of people and are an important health issue in Australia and New Zealand:
Common autoimmune diseases include thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
Less commone autoimmune diseases include systemic lupus erythematosus , also known as lupus, and vasculitis disorders .
What Does Autoimmune Disease Mean
There are two different points of view in the medical science arena.
Opinion 1) The dominant or conventional medical science explains that an autoimmune disease is where the immune system is attacking itself by mistake. The immune system is confused, and as a result, attacking the bodys tissues and organs.
Opinion 2) The opinion of a growing number of medical scientists and doctors says the immune system is not confused nor misguided and it knows what is doing. The immune system is seeing damaged tissue caused by toxins and is trying to get rid of them and clean the damaged tissue.
These two different opinions about what an autoimmune disease is, has an impact on how to deal with autoimmunity.
The mainstream medicals solution to this problem is to provide medicine to reduce or suppress the response of the immune system, and these are called immunosuppressant drugs. These drugs are supposed to treat autoimmune conditions such as:
- Celiac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
The question to ask yourself is are these drugs treating or just masking the symptoms by beating down on the immune system? Are the above conditions being cured or do you have to take these drugs for the rest of your life not to mention dealing with the drug’s side effects?
Going back to our original question, is asthma an autoimmune disease?
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How Is Asthma Connected To The Immune System
Scientists are still studying exactly how asthma is connected to the immune system. They think the immune system has a role in the asthma response and the development of asthma.1
Scientists do not know exactly why some people develop asthma. Some think asthma could be caused by an immune response to viruses. They believe standard viruses could cause the immune system to develop the behavior that leads to asthma in some people.5,6
The causes of intrinsic asthma are not well understood. This is because it can be triggered by so many things. But some scientists also think an autoimmune response may have a role in causing it. This potential link could help people with intrinsic asthma, who are sometimes more difficult to treat. It is possible that intrinsic asthma could respond to treatment with medicine used for autoimmune conditions.1
Airway Autoimmune Inflammatory Response Syndrome: An Asthma
POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The authors have indicated they have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.
Chantal Y. Spencer, Jennifer Millman, Keila Veiga, Alfin G. Vicencio Airway Autoimmune Inflammatory Response Syndrome: An Asthma-Autoimmune Overlap Disorder? . Pediatrics March 2018 141 : e20170138. 10.1542/peds.2017-0138
Asthma encompasses numerous phenotypes that may require alternate approaches to diagnosis and therapy, particularly for patients whose symptoms remain poorly controlled despite escalating treatment. We describe 3 patients with apparent asthma who demonstrated unusual findings on cryobiopsy by flexible bronchoscopy and responded to therapy directed against autoimmune disease.
Among children with asthma, severe disease accounts for only 5% to 10% of cases but is responsible for an estimated 50% of health care costs., In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the diagnosis of asthma encompasses numerous distinct phenotypes that may require different diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.,
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Dont Try This At Home
One of the main biologics used in allergy practices is omalizumab, an anti-IgE antibody used to treat severe, persistent asthma and chronic urticaria, explained Sanjiv Sur, MD, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
It is administered subcutaneously and, because it comes with a risk for anaphylaxis, cannot be administered at home, he warned, adding that patients should be evaluated on an individual basis assess to its riskbenefit ratio.
In this time of crisis, some patients can be switched to oral medicines to manage their urticaria so that they need not be exposed to the risk of coming to the hospital or clinic to receive their injection, said Sur. However, if a switch is not possible, patients should continue to receive their injection to prevent losing control of their asthma.
Similarly, patients who receive biologics like subcutaneous mepolizumab and intravenous gamma globulin, which must be administered in an infusion center or doctors office because of the risk for severe adverse effects, should continue to receive them for asthma control, he said.
But there are asthma-focused biologics that can be used at home.
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Foods That Contain Certain Additives
Many food items, especially ultra-processed foods, contain additives to improve shelf life, texture, and taste. Some of these may negatively affect your immune response.
For example, some emulsifiers, which are added to processed foods to improve texture and shelf life, can alter gut bacteria, harm your gut lining, and induce inflammation, all of which can cause immune dysfunction .
Carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 are commonly used emulsifiers that have been linked to immune dysfunction in rodent studies (
Choosing nutritious, high fiber carb sources like starchy vegetables, oats, fruit, and legumes over refined carbs is smart to support immune health.
A diet high in refined carbs may adversely affect your immune system. Choosing more nutritious carb sources like fruits and starchy vegetables is a better choice for your overall health.
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