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The 2 words, “autoimmune disease” can be intimidating and foreign to some but for others the phrase “autoimmune disease” is a relentless attack of the most debilitating kind. You probably know someone with an autoimmune disorder because they are very common in society now, and there are commercials galore promoting the latest pill that will give people their life back. Let’s look at a few of the most common autoimmune disorders.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of all ages. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, characterized by periods of disease flares and remissions. In rheumatoid arthritis, multiple joints are usually, but not always, affected in a symmetrical pattern. Chronic inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can cause permanent joint destruction and deformity. Damage to joints can occur early and does not correlate with the severity of symptoms. There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis optimally involves a combination of patient education, rest and exercise joint protection, medications, and occasionally surgery.
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation throughout your body. It can affect any or all of your organs, resulting in dozens of physical symptoms ranging from headaches to irregular heartbeats. Most of us are protected by an immune system that attacks invading bacteria and infections. If you have lupus however, your immune system can’t tell the difference between foreign cells and your body’s natural cells and tissues. As a result, inflammation starts to build throughout your body, causing many physical problems, such as joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, rash, sensitivity to sunlight, Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease, is a chronic autoimmune disease also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. The name Hashimoto’s thyroiditis comes from the pathologist who in 1912 first described the microscopic features of the disease. In general, there is a gradual loss of thyroid function, often accompanied by enlargement of the thyroid gland, also known as a goiter. Some of the symptoms of Hashi’s are fatigue, mental fogginess and forgetfulness, feeling excessively cold, constipation, dry skin, fluid retention, muscle aches pains and stiffness in joints, depression.
Keep in mind that these disorders have been on a steady rise in the United States and are being diagnosed in younger and younger people. Many young children suffer with these disorders now that literally have them living in a physical life of what was once thought to only happen in the very aged. These “unseen” disorders are misunderstood by most and have devastating effects on people’s lives. Marriages break up, jobs are lost and sometimes the sufferers of these illnesses can be overcome with depression due to the relentless exacerbation of symptoms. Why are these illnesses on the rise and what can we do to help ourselves, friends and loved ones who suffer from these type of illnesses? The medical establishment would say that they have a pill or a shot for those things, but in reality these do not treat WHY a person gets an autoimmune disease in the first place. They simply mask the symptoms. Really,,if you had cancer would you be happy if the doctor came up to you with a Band-aid and said,,”here ya go, now your better.”