Our bodies have an immune system, which is a complex network of special cells and organs that defends the body from germs and other foreign invaders. At the core of the immune system is the ability to tell the difference between self and non-self: what’s you and what’s foreign. When the body is unable to tell the difference between self and non-self an allergic reaction will occur. When this happens, the body makes auto-antibodies that attack normal cells by mistake. At the same time, special cells called regulatory T cells fail to do their job of keeping the immune system in line. The result is a misguided attack on your own body and we call these symptoms an allergy reaction. This causes the damage we know as autoimmune disease. The body parts that are affected depend on the type of autoimmune disease. There are more than 80 known types.
Some autoimmune diseases run in families, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis. It is also common for different types of autoimmune diseases to affect different members of a single family. Inheriting certain genes can make it more likely to get an autoimmune disease. But a combination of genes and other factors may trigger the disease to start.
Some of the autoimmune diseases are listed in the table below.
|Types of Autoimmune Diseases & Their Symptoms|
|Alopecia areata – The immune system attacks hair follicles (the structures from which hair grows). It usually does not threaten health, but it can greatly affect the way a person looks.
|• Patchy hair loss on the scalp, face, or other areas of your body|
|Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome – A disease that causes problems in the inner lining of blood vessels resulting in blood clots in arteries or veins||• Blood clots in veins or arteries• Multiple miscarriages• Lacy, net-like red rash on the wrists and knees|
|Autoimmune hepatitis – The immune system attacks and destroys the liver cells. This can lead to scarring and hard-ening of the liver and possibly liver failure.
|• Fatigue• Enlarged liver• Yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes• Itchy skin• Joint pain• Stomach pain or upset|
|Celiac disease – A disease in which people can’t tolerate gluten, a substance found in wheat, rye, and barley, and also some medicines. When people with celiac disease eat foods or use products that have gluten, the immune system responds by damaging the lining of the small intestines.
|• Abdominal bloating and pain• Diarrhea or constipation• Weight loss or weight gain• Fatigue• Missed menstrual periods• Itchy skin rash• Infertility or miscarriages|
|Diabetes type 1
A disease in which your immune system attacks the cells that make insulin, a hormone needed to control blood sugar levels. As a result, your body cannot make insulin. Without insulin, too much sugar stays in your blood. Too high blood sugar can hurt the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and gums and teeth. But the most serious problem caused by diabetes is heart disease.
|• Being very thirsty• Urinating often
• Feeling very hungry or tired • Losing weight without trying
• Having sores that heal slowly
• Dry, itchy skin • Losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet • Having blurry eyesight
Some of the regular drugs prescribed by conventional medicine for treating allergies are
Corticosteroids. Potent anti-inflammatory hormones that are made naturally in the body or synthetically (man-made) for use as drugs. They are also called glucocorticoids. The most commonly prescribed drug of this type is prednisone.
Immunosuppressive drugs. Drugs that suppress the immune response and can be used to treat autoimmune disease. Unfortunately, because these drugs also suppress normal immunity, they leave the body at risk of infection.
In homeopathy we look at the person that is sick and not only at the organ that is affected. Then we prescribe natural and non toxic remedies that stimulate the body to start healing itself. These remedies don’t have to be taken all the time or every day.
For more information about allergy treatments and allergy prevention please contact me at the North York clinic