The immune system of the body is in place to protect you from disease as well as infection. When an autoimmune disease is present in the body, the healthy cells are attacked by the immune system by mistake. Many parts of the body can be affected by autoimmune disease and there is no real reason why such diseases affect humans. There are actually over 80 types of autoimmune disease and many have similar symptoms. This makes it difficult for a physician to diagnose individuals to provide proper care.
Being diagnosed can be a stressful process as you may undergo several rounds of testing before it is determined what issue is affecting your body. The common initial symptoms of an autoimmune disease are muscle aches, fatigue, and low-grade fever. Inflammation will also be present and can cause swelling, pain, and redness in the body.
Autoimmune disease can have flare-ups, go into remission or get worse over time. Symptoms can go away or disappear completely depending on the treatment type. Examples of autoimmune diseases include:
Inflammatory bowel disease
Type 1 diabetes
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Autoimmune diseases are hard to diagnosis as there are many diseases in this category and symptoms can vary. Common symptoms patients will see are feeling ill, inflammation of the body, fever, and fatigue. When a flare-up occurs, these symptoms will worsen. The areas of the body that are commonly affected when an autoimmune disease is present in the blood vessels, joints, skin, muscles, connective tissue, red blood cells and endocrine glands.
The immune system is designed to produce antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that will find and destroy substances that are found in the body that are harmful such as fungi, bacteria, viruses or parasites. When an autoimmune disease is present, the body will produce antibodies but these antibodies will react to good tissues instead of reacting towards the bad stuff like viruses and bacteria. Certain tests are conducted in order to find what autoimmune issue might be present. This can include Autoantibody tests, complete blood count, antinuclear antibody testing, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein.
Once you have been diagnosed, treatment can begin. An autoimmune disease is considered a chronic condition and there is no cure. However, treatment is provided to help control the process of the condition and to relieve symptoms. Common treatments can include medication for immune suppression, blood transfusions, hormone replacement therapy, physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medication.
There are also alternative therapies that can be of benefit. Many patients will try acupuncture and even hypnosis in order to treat an autoimmune disease. One alternative treatment that is suggested is known as hyperthermia. This therapy typically involves heat and increasing the core body temperature. The result of this treatment is that the immune system is increased along with circulation and metabolism. Inflammation and pain are common symptoms of autoimmune diseases and this treatment type can provide a decrease in these symptoms.
An opposite type treatment can be found with Whole Body Cryotherapy. This is a cold therapy type that involves skin exposure to very low temperatures. The patient is exposed to -200 to -250 degrees Fahrenheit for just three minutes. This treatment type can reduce inflammation and pain as well as improve blood circulation, and improve the ability of the body to eliminate toxins.
Overall, there are options for individuals who are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases to find treatment. If standard methods are not working to relieve symptoms, unique alternatives such as cryotherapy or hypothermia can be used to try and alleviate symptoms.