Understanding Autoimmune Disorders

Every time she said her body ached, she was informed she was working too much or not working out enough. It took three years before she heard, in the same way she had suspected, that she had the same autoimmune disorder that had afflicted her mother: arthritis rheumatoid. Autoimmune disease, which strikes women disproportionately, is simple to miss, says Dr. Neelay Gandhi, a family group specialist on the medical personnel at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, who got over Krolikowski’s treatment six months back. That’s because the general symptoms of exhaustion and achiness are common, and autoimmune disease may take many forms, including lupus, thyroid disorders and multiple sclerosis, he says.

In autoimmune disorders, an immune system attacks the healthy tissue it was designed to protect. Getting an early medical diagnosis can be important because the damage the disease causes generally can be stopped or slowed, but not reversed. Krolikowski, 64, says that is why she advises women to be continual when something feels wrong and to find a doctor who’ll be attentive to their concerns. Dr. Noel Rose, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Autoimmune Disease Research in Baltimore, has spent decades advocating for increased recognition of autoimmune diseases, which he says afflict an estimated 20 million Americans.

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75). Rose wish to see autoimmune disease recognized as an umbrella for these various conditions, in the same way cancer is used to describe several diseases with an root cause. In fact, the more we understand about autoimmune disease, the better we will understand tumor because they’re opposite ends of the same problem, he says.

Cells are too quick to assault healthy tissue in autoimmune disorders and too gradual to combat in malignancy, allowing harmful tissue to grow out of control. Dr. Benjamin Greenberg, a helper and neurologist professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, sees great promise in the Boston-based Accelerated Cure Project.

While it concentrates primarily on supporting the latest research on multiple sclerosis, the scholarly studies can offer insight into other autoimmune disorders, he says. Greenberg says research suggests that some important risk factors for autoimmune disorders are supplement D insufficiency, smoking, genetics, poisons in the environment and poor nourishment. Current cures involve suppressing or killing the cells.

One thrilling idea on the horizon involves drugs that can retrain cells to not attack healthy cells, he says. An intriguing area to explore is why women suffer disproportionately from autoimmune disorders. Experts speculate that because hormones tend to stimulate immune responses, women’s major hormonal swings may play a substantial role in many, though not all forms, of the condition (Type 1diabetes actually occurs more often in males).

Women seem to be at most significant risk during their childbearing years. Good communication between doctor and patient can verify key to navigating this disease, Greenberg says. In neuromyelitis optica, a uncommon autoimmune disorder that attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord, he discovered, many patients reported incidents of vomiting or frequent hiccups before the symptoms manifested themselves. Now when he requires a patient’s history, he asks about vomiting and hiccups.