What Causes Autoimmune Diseases?

An autoimmune disease is a condition in which our bodies attack themselves.  Read on to learn more about its causes and the ways to prevent it.

Who autoimmune diseases affect the most

Autoimmune diseases affect both genders, but statistics show that women suffer from them the most.  In general, autoimmune diseases are three times more common in women than men!

The age old problem – recognition – or lack of it

Recognition is one of the major problems with autoimmunity- it is yet to be recognized by modern medicine as as a bonafide category of disease.  This is partially because it crosses the boundaries of specialist areas like endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology, rheumatology, and more,  and little attention is given to autoimmunity as the root cause.

The focus is treating symptoms – not seeking out the root cause

Most medical professionals are concerned with treating the symptoms of a disease, rather than seeking out the root cause. They do what they are trained to do: identify a disease and mask it with prescribing appropriate medication to deal with the symptoms.

Scientists May Have Finally Found The Trigger for Autoimmune Diseases

A 2017 study published in Cell studied rogue B cells in mice.  Under normal conditions, B cells produce antibodies that trigger the immune cells to attack harmful foreign substances. But, when researchers looked at these cells more closely, they found that there is something in them that was actually attacking the immune system.

According to one of the study’s researchers Michael Carroll from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the rogue B cells pointed them towards epitope spreading, a situation in which the body begins attacking different foreign substances that shouldn’t be attacked.

The Surprising Findings

When B cells start sensing these negative bodies, they group into germinal centers, in which B cells fight each other in order to identify the ones that are best suited to combat the foreign bodies.

“Over time, the B cells that initially produce the ‘winning’ autoantibodies begin to recruit other B cells to produce additional damaging autoantibodies – just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water,” said Søren Degn from Boston Children’s Hospital and Aarhus University in Denmark.

“This finding was such a surprise,” said Carroll. “It not only tells us that autoreactive B cells are competing inside germinal centres to design an autoantibody, but then we also see that the immune response broadens to attack other tissues in the body, leading to epitope spreading at the speed of wildfire.”

Undiagnosed and untreated in the early stages

Due to the lack of recognition among conventional medical experts, autoimmunity often goes undiagnosed.  This is not surprising though, given that women with autoimmune disease often experience symptoms that come and go.

Prevention is better than cure – Causation in the key

Prevention is always better than the cure, especially in cases when no cure is actually available.  Being a relatively young disease, little money is given to research autoimmunity. Most people would say that no one knows what really causes the immune system to react as it does in case of autoimmunity, but it is believed that it could be due to:

  • Toxins
  • Bacterial agents
  • Viruses
  • Environmental issues

Sunlight and Lupus – and other possible factors of what causes  autoimmune disease

Sunlight is a well- known cause of Lupus disease, which can not only act as a trigger, but it can also aggravate the condition. Other possible causes include:

  • Pregnancy (linked to hormone imbalance)
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Severe stress
  • Aging

Dealing with inflammation (what causes Autoimmune Disease)

To sum up, what we know with certainty is that autoimmune diseases cause inflammation in the body.  One of the best all-natural ways to deal with inflammation includes eating healthy diet that involves lots of fresh foods that combat inflammation.  Good sources include:

  • Capsicums and chilies
  • Tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh berries
  • Sharp cherries
  • Beets
  • Spices such as Ginger and Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Fatty fish which is rich in omega-3
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Low fat dairy products
  • Onions