The function of your immune system is to protect you from illness and disease. In a healthy body, the immune system attacks viruses and bacteria with autoantibodies. For those who have an autoimmune disorder, your immune system mistakenly attacks your normal cells believing them to be foreign particles or pathogens that will harm your body. Some autoimmune disorders trigger only one part of the body while others attack full body organs and functions.
When you have an autoimmune disease, your body is unable to protect you from infection and disease. For more than 50 million Americans living with more than 80 known autoimmune diseases, the symptoms are so similar that it is sometimes difficult to get an accurate diagnosis earlier on in their onset. What is known is that the earliest symptoms of these disorders include:
- muscle aches
- numbness in extremities
- brain fog
- skin rashes
- low-grade fevers
- hair loss
To date, there is no known cause of autoimmune disorders. While it is known that some patients are genetic carriers, others may develop autoimmune disorders because of environmental issues or diet. Some of these disorders like Celiac Disease also have additional symptoms like chronic pain, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and stomach pain. It is generally when these additional symptoms occur that doctors are better equipped to diagnose a condition. Today, autoimmune symptoms are much more common, so doctors have more knowledge and patient experience to identify crucial differences which are improving the lives of millions of autoimmune patients.
What Are Common Autoimmune Disorders?
– Diabetes Type I
Diabetes Type I affects the pancreas which produces insulin. It is a vital component that regulates your body’s blood sugar. The immune system, when affected by autoimmunity, destroys the cells that produce insulin.
– Celiac Disease
Those with celiac disease are unable to process foods that contain gluten which is found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and many other products. When gluten enters the stomach, it creates an imbalance in the gut microbiota which triggers an autoimmune response.
– Multiple Sclerosis
People who have multiple sclerosis suffer from damage to the myelin sheath which is the layering that covers the nerve cells. MS disrupts the communication between the brain and the body which has long-lasting effects on a patient’s entire functioning.
This autoimmune disorder affects all of the organs in the body. Most commonly, patients with lupus experience chronic joint pain, rashes, and fatigue.
This disease is a degenerative condition that affects joints and causes chronic inflammation and pain in the neck, lower back, hip, hands, and knee joints.
Fibromyalgia affects the musculoskeletal system. A primary symptom is a chronic pain, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and loss of memory.
Based on the 2016 study by McGill University, researchers now believe that chronic pain may recondition genes in the brain and T-cells as they relate to your immune system. Most critically for people who suffer from auto-immune disorders and chronic pain, the news brings about a hope that a deviation of current medical practices will lead to new forms of diagnosis, treatment, and therapeutic strategies. For our patients at Maryland Pain and Wellness, full body and mind health and well-being are critical which is why we take an individualized approach to your care