What is autoimmunity? 28th June 2023 – Tags:

In many media we are increasingly hearing about autoimmune diseases or autoimmunity. We hear how dangerous they are for the patient and how often they appear in our population. Is there any way we can defend ourselves against these diseases? And what is the immunization process itself?

What is autoimmunity

Autoimmunity is manifested by the presence of antibodies produced by B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes directed against autoantigens – compounds that build up the body. With the help of inflammatory compounds, immune reactions then occur to strike healthy cells and tissues of the body. Currently, the exact cause of autoimmune disorders is unknown; however, new theories are emerging to explain the emergence of this phenomenon. One theory is that certain microorganisms or drugs can trigger changes that confuse the immune system. People who have genes that increase susceptibility to autoimmune diseases are most vulnerable to this process.

The illustration shows a lymphocyte (blue color) on a human blood smear image. It is the presence of T lymphocytes that causes the process of autoimmunity.
The illustration shows a lymphocyte (blue color) on a human blood smear image. It is the presence of T lymphocytes that causes the process of autoimmunity.

What autoimmune diseases exist?

The autoimmune process itself, in addition to conducting damage to the body, can cause many diseases. The most well-known are:

  • Type i diabetes
  • Celiac disease
  • Hashimoto’s disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus erythematosus
  • Graves-Basedow disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
The figure shows the organs that are most often attacked by autoimmune diseases and examples of diseases.
The figure shows the organs that are most often attacked by autoimmune diseases and examples of diseases.

Symptoms of the appearance of an autoimmune disease

  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Rash

What tests can we use to detect autoimmune changes?

  • ANA antinuclear antibody test
  • Autoantibody test
  • Complete blood count with white blood cell differentiation
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel
  • C-reactive protein test
  • Rate of descent of red blood cells
  • Urinalysis
  • Treatment of autoimmune diseases
  • Treatment of autoimmune diseases is itself quite complex. Its most important goals are to control the autoimmune process, preserve the body’s strength so it can fight the disease, and reduce symptoms.

One type of treatment is replacement therapy for missing compounds in the body such as, for example, insulin, vitamin B12 or thyroid hormones. Another type of treatment is blood transfusion when autoimmunity reaches the circulatory system. During therapy, physiotherapy is also effective, making daily life easier for patients with autoimmune diseases involving the muscular and osteoarticular systems.

Many patients also begin therapy with drugs that reduce the body’s damaged response – the name for these drugs is immunosuppressants. Targeted drugs for certain cancers are also used with some diseases.

one of a kind therapy autoimmune diseases insulin therapy for diabetes type I
one of a kind therapy autoimmune diseases insulin therapy for diabetes type I
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