An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system (that normally attacks bacteria and viruses) mistakenly attacks the body.
Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue.
Over 29 million Americans are affected by an autoimmune disease, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). About 2 million Canadians are affected by autoimmune diseases.
For some people, the disease is temporary, whereas more typically these diseases must be managed lifelong. Also, they tend to appear during or shortly after puberty.
An estimated 25% of patients who have one autoimmune disease have a tendency to develop another.
Women, especially Hispanic-American, African-American, and Native-American, have a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases.
There are around 100 different autoimmune diseases. Here are some of the most common ones:
It is an autoimmune disorder that causes healthy skin cells to turn over at an abnormally fast rate. About 8 million people in the US will develop psoriasis.
According to the World Psoriasis Day consortium, about 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis.
The symptoms may include:
- shedding of scales of the skin;
- itchiness, but many patients do not feel itchy at all;
- red scaly patches on elbows, knees, scalp, and other parts of the body.
Type I Diabetes Mellitus
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system’s antibodies destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leads to inappropriate hyperglycemia and deranged metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
It is not caused by the amount of sugar in a patient’s diet before the disease develops.
Approximately 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. The ADA estimates that over 40,000 individuals receive a type 1 diagnosis each year in the US. Prevalence is increasing worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
- yeast infections;
- frequent urination;
- unexplained weight loss;
- increased thirst;
- increased appetite;
- itchy or dry skin;
- dry mouth.
READ MORE: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Spiritual Meaning
RA is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation of joints. RA is a systemic disease, which means it can affect the whole body.
An estimated 1.4 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis.
RA usually begins to affect people between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. Females are more likely to develop RA at a younger age than males.
It is the 3rd most common type of arthritis behind gout and osteoarthritis.
The following joint symptoms are clues to rheumatoid arthritis:
- the same joints on both sides of the body are affected;
- small joints are affected;
- joint pain, swelling, tenderness, or stiffness for 50 days or longer;
- more than one joint is affected;
- morning stiffness for half an hour or longer.
READ MORE: Spiritual Meaning of Arthritis
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
This term is mainly used to describe two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
In this disease, the immune system attacks the lining of the intestines, causing episodes of rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain, urgent bowel movements, unexplained weight loss, and high temperature (fever).
Over 1.7 million Americans have inflammatory bowel disease. As many as 70,000 new cases of IBD are diagnosed
in the US each year. Also, IBD is more common among non-Hispanic whites than other ethnicities.
According to statistics, ulcerative colitis is slightly more common in men than women, while Crohn’s disease is slightly more common in women than men.
Note – if you smoke tobacco, you are more likely to get Crohn’s disease.
Guillain Barre Syndrome
It is a rare condition in which your immune system attacks your peripheral nervous system which leads to muscle weakness.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, GBS affects about 1 in 100,000 people in the United States.
Some of the symptoms of GBS are:
- persistent and/or severe pain;
- difficulty walking without assistance;
- difficulty peeing;
- problems chewing;
- difficulty speaking;
- an inability to move the legs;
- double vision;
- difficulty breathing.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
It can affect almost any organ or system of the body, and it is characterized by flare-ups and periods of improvement. It has been estimated to affect around 0.75 million people in the US.
In people with systemic lupus erythematosus, suppressor cells are underactive whereas B cells are hyperactive.
Over 90 percent of cases of systemic lupus erythematosus occurs in women. Some of the triggers for flare-ups include viral infections, UV radiation, and stress.
In SS, the immune system attacks the saliva glands. It is more common in women and typically affects people aged 40-60. Between 400,000 and 3.1 million adults have SS.
The more common symptoms of SS include:
- general achiness;
- dry eyes;
- joint pain;
- tiredness (fatigue);
- tenderness of the glands around the neck, face, groin, and armpits;
- difficulty swallowing;
- difficulty eating dry foods;
- dry mouth.
In multiple sclerosis, the autoimmune cells cause damage to the myelin sheath which usually acts as the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells.
Common symptoms include:
- emotional changes;
- cognitive dysfunction;
- sexual dysfunction;
- coordination problems;
- walking problems;
- bladder dysfunction;
- vision problems.
Addison’s disease is a rare disorder of the adrenal glands which affects about 1 in 100,000 people.
AD occurs in all age groups and afflicts females and males equally.
Symptoms may include the following:
- low blood pressure;
- difficulty in standing up;
- lack of motivation;
- joint pain;
- muscle weakness and pain;
- changes in personality and mood;
- sexual dysfunction;
- mild depression;
- irregular menstrual periods;
- low blood volume;
- low blood sugar;
- craving for foods with high sodium content;
- lack of appetite;
- loss of body hair;
- unintentional weight loss.
READ MORE: Headaches and Migraines: Spiritual Cause
Spiritual Causes of Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases occur when the body defectively mixes many processes as these disorders are related to allergies, inflammations, and cancer-like dynamics.
These disorders are the result of certain defense mechanisms in which the body no longer recognizes its own cells and begins to destroy them as foreign and dangerous agents. Also, these diseases are degenerative in the sense that they no longer respect the natural laws of organic recognition.
Autoimmune diseases reflect our inability to recognize, see, or accept ourselves as who we are. This difficulty is often worsened by the search for external responsibilities. We are involved in a struggle with a world that doesn’t understand us, doesn’t recognize us, doesn’t love us, even though it really is our problem.
We think of life in dual terms only: things can only be good or bad, and we experience situations in terms of justice or injustice. Therefore, the permanent conflict strategy and the compulsive defense eventually cause our self-destruction.
Images credit – Shutterstock
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References https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160609174808.htm https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3179003/ https://www.niddk.nih.gov/hirritable-bowel-syndrome/clinical-trials
Wednesday 31st of August 2022
I was diagnosed in March 2017 but was running around from doctor to doctor before I finally get a result that I was free from Lupus SLE. Mine started on top and progressed to the bottom I could walk very little but needed assistance as I have no balance. It is a sad time that we thought this disease has no cure with all the technology we have while there are some formulas there that can reverse all symptoms and get rid of Lupus SLE permanently. I’m passing this info to anyone at there because multivitamincare .org has the right cure and caregiver for this disease ….I took various supplements, medicine prescribed by a neurologist, rheumatologist, and physiotherapy still the disease was progressing very fast until the Lupus SLE formula from that company.
Wednesday 9th of September 2020
It is all individual for sure. Working on accepting one’s self to the best of our ability and to never ever stop embracing pain as a gateway for growth is the only way to combat anything in life: physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
Tuesday 30th of June 2020
In my 18’th year of life I was diagnosed with a generalized and severely debilitating form of ra. I was informed of what a difficult journey is ahead of me with this condition and how my life will become restricted and completely changed. The same year I attempted to take my own life. The two were unrelated in my mind however in reality they were intimately and revelatorily linked. I was born in country ravaged by totalitarianism for the first decade of my life with a population that culturally exhibited a victimized, oppressed state of mind. I came from a rough and split family setting where anger and addiction were norm. By the age of puberty I grew convinced that life is a swamp of misery, love is a a fantasy concept and people resent each-other as a norm. As I was educated by a victim mentality mother, I started exhibiting the same belief that somehow I was subjected to this suffering by circumstance, other people and felt inescapable. On the other hand I had a highly demanding father greatly achievement oriented that caused me to live my days trying to prove my self to others and in constant need of validation. I was a walking talking contradiction that secretly desired for it all to just end. My body responded and started eating away at the substance that made mobility possible. I was unconsciously creating my own core beliefs into existence. When I recovered from my suicide coma in the hospital I had no magnificent near death experience to speak of except a period of waiting in complete darkness before becoming conscious to my surroundings. My first hazy words were: “well, it seams not even the devil wants me”...except this time i could hear my own words clearly and recognize the pathetic self victimization in them. While in the hospital, i was visited by dozens of friends, some I would have never expected to be so positively preoccupied by my welfare, utterly non judgemental and honest. I have received a lot of emotional support and realized that due to my self inflicted misery, I was blind to this coexistent reality. I exited this experience changed to the core. The rim of death had freed me from the existential dread driving my emotions before. I was no longer afraid to die or get hurt and felt the “world” that in my previous mindset was the victimizer had no power over how i feel for i am empowered to look at whatever angle of it i choose. If i choose to see the good, that is my reality just as it was otherwise. If i choose life, love, connection, the body and my whole experience starts reflecting that: aliveness. If i choose to see hate, pain, malice i basically choose death and my reality and body start reflecting that. I stopped taking my medication and started focusing on living a more conscious, empowered, deeply alive existence and i never experienced another inflammatory episode again. More then that, as a good mindset afforded me the energy to put more time into properly nourishing and exercising the body, all remnants of the disease cleared out and my joints regained not only full, painless function but achieved physical feats i would have never dreamed of. I also educated my self on my own biology and physiology, knowledge that became a true empowering tool in life. Disease (aka. not being at ease with one’s self) is in the mindset. And yes, there are factors that contribute in our upbringing and external conditioning however it is ultimately up to us how long and how deeply we allow these factors to rule and eventually ravage us. If you have even a trace of victimized feeling within, become alert and get to the bottom of it for you are no victim at any time even when literarily physically attacked one can react like a wise warrior or a poor little ol me i can’t defend my self being. The key is and has always been in tour hand, in the gift of being able to choose how you receive all that happens in life. This is not about repressing “bad” feelings but about acknowledging them for what they are: just old programs running in the mind for a very long time. Confidence and willful conscious positive orientation of mind are key to internal homeostasis, healthy immunity and a life expression to match them. Don’t be discouraged ever. There is always a way when there is a will. You might not be able to fully reverse the consequences of your condition however you can certainly much enhance the quality of your life by the simple act of deprogramming the victimized psyche and replacing those old stale programs with new consciously chosen modes of being. One extraordinary assistance tool, the real medicine for my self was meditation and the mastery of my own thinking where key elements of this story are hidden. You are precious as you are, comparing one’s self and achievements to others is a loosing game for there is always someone that “looks” better then us and we never know anyone else’s full story but our own. Embrace what you feel are your defects and reeducate them and embrace your many qualities as well. Being kind, being honest, being compassionate are qualities worth more then any riches or careers in the world. Extend these qualities to your self as you do others and watch the reality of healing. No one is more or less essential in the eyes of Life.
Tuesday 8th of December 2020
So beautiful...🙏🙏 I develop an auto immune syndrome and since that I've been searching , reading, trying to understand and being optimistic....but sometimes I feel very scare, sad, nervous. You are my inspiration , God led to read this!! Thanks
Sunday 9th of August 2020
thank you, you have inspired me. smile x
Thursday 23rd of May 2019
For a detailed look at the effects of trauma (PTSD,childhood neglect etc) this is a fascinating book- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma van der Kolk M.D., Bessel, Viking Books Sold by: Amazon.com Services, Inc
Monday 20th of May 2019
I wiil tell you I have several of these symptoms and/or illnesses and I haven't founded a doctor to help me. I will continue trying to feel better reason for which I like to read about my symptoms to get more knowledge but there is a special symptom I have ... My body reacts terribly to weather changes ... and with heat I can't breath. Today I got names for possibles illnesses I could have . Maybe one of your doctors would like to treat me ? I hope so . Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your attention . .
Monday 2nd of May 2022
@Timothy, thank you for writing this perspective. It is hard for some to receive in it's purity and wisdom and Christianity has been so plagued by dogma trough its existence that anyone uttering the word "God" or Jesus or Christ risks being taken only partially seriously. But Christ bore many names and we had some names even for the unnamble source of it All, different by culture and region and historic time...yet the same concepts and journey being described. In the end, the difficulty of accepting such faith and love within one's self is the root cause o all dis-ease. The little self becomes incapsulated and so self obsessed it takes on the responsibility of the world and all in it...then realisez he cannot controll any of that and that the more it tries the more out of balance it becomes and it's reality becomes chaotic inside and out. The isolation from true faith, aka the trust in the wholesome nature of existence and our omnipotent source whom is a keeper of our life hence eternally working in our favor...creates immense tension and one enters quite literally a state of resistance to being it's self. Open your mind and heart and practice faith every moment till it becomes your Nature to trust that all happens for your benefit. Be aware and present with each moment and watch your thoughts as they hold the key to your true issues. Be Still and Know I AM! Do this daily, just sit and fix your attention on the Source of Being and let all else happen and healing is within your reach. MIRACLES are reality if you accept them as such. Yet any ounce o doubt clogs that connection. FAITH requires courage and perseverence...thus does healing occur.
Saturday 24th of April 2021
@Timothy, Maybe you have not heard of juvinile auto immune disease. On what grounds will you blame the infant born with the disease.
Friday 3rd of January 2020
Autoimmune disease is caused by a mental state of poor self image, self resentment, self anger. The person self esteem is based on his personal achievements in life, his acceptance by others. When he is facing challenges in this area, he hates himself, resent his own weaknesses.
This mental state trigger stress hormones such as Cortisol which increases blood sugar level. Insulin production is increase as well. As a result, high blood sugar & high insulin, causing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes.
To resolve this toxic mental state of mind, accept Jesus as the Lamb slained on the cross for your sins. Then your sins are forgiven & you become sons of God. You are now accepted by God as His son, it doesn't matter no one in this world accept you or love you. God loves you , God thinks you are beautiful, destined for greatness, because He has placed His Holy Spirit inside you as a guarantee; His Spirit of wisdom & power resides inside you. You will never fail in life, God esteem you highly. It doesn't matter no one in this world esteem you highly. God's approval of you is enough.
We are all created by our Maker, to accept His love & to love Him. When we do this, a powerful hormone called Oxytocin is released. This hormone stimulate feelings of being "in love". This hormone will cause every other hormonal gland system to rest and be restored to equilibrium. A person who is passionately in love with God, will definitely have strong immune system and strong emotional health.