Weak immune system is one of the weakest links in the human body which may lead to breakdown and exposure to foreign bodies. The immune system (composed of T and B-cell lymphocytes) is the body’s first line of defense against intruders such as infections, and foreign substances into the body. When the body’s immune system is compromised, it may lead to having opportunistic infections which ordinarily can be prevented by the body, immune system diseases are of three subtypes- overactive immune system, autoimmune system disease and underactive immune system.
What is an autoimmune disease? Autoimmune disease is a pathological state of the immune system which arises from abnormal responses to substances and body tissues instead of foreign bodies such as foreign antigens. In this regard, the immune system sees the body tissues and healthy cells as intruders. This leads to deterioration of the immune system due to inherent possibility of systemic organ failure in the body.
There are many examples of immune system diseases which make them hard to diagnose on most cases, few examples are the following:
- Lupus erythematosus
- Grave’s disease
- Thyroiditis hashimoto’s disease
- Myasthenia gravis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Celiac disease
- Pernicious anemia
- Reactive arthritis
- Diabetes mellitus I
- Vitiligo among others
Signs of autoimmune disorders include systemic organ failure, altered tissue growth, depressed immunity, redness and skin irritation as in psoriasis.
Symptoms of autoimmune disease
Symptoms of autoimmune disease can be very hard to diagnose due to their similarities especially when they are arising from close visceral organs. The following are autoimmune disease symptoms:
1. Failed glucose metabolism: This may occur from the destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas thus leading to diabetes I.
2. Inflammation of joints, and urethra, sores on mucus membranes and skin.
3. Fast and irregular heart rate due to overactive thyroid gland as in hashimoto’s thyroiditis disease.
4. Bluish-tinged skin with whitened eye sclera: This is an indication of pernicious anemia
5. Stomach and intestinal troubles due to inflammatory bowel diseases as occasioned by ulcerative colitis and celiac diseases: Celiac disease is a disease characterized by intolerance to gluten based foods which may trigger adverse gastro-intestinal troubles. Frequent bowel changes may not necessarily be a sign of diarrhea but one of the autoimmune disease symptoms.
6. White patches on the skin: This is caused by skin inflammation and sudden dryness of the skin as a result of sweat gland destruction.. if you repeatedly get white patches on your skin, it may be one of the signs of autoimmune disease.
7. Inflammation at the joints with severe pain which may spread into the bones: This is a disease of old age as it is more common in older men and women. This causes stiffness at the joints and inability to stand for a long period due to muscle weakness and bone fatigue.
8. Eye irritation due to destruction of tear gland as well dry oral cavity as a result of salivary gland inefficiencies.
9. Sudden coma and respiratory trouble: This could be one of the signs of autoimmune disease as it may affect the airways. It may cause patients to experience sleep apnea and frequent sleep disturbances. Coma could be a sign of systemic organ failure as a result of chronic spread of autoimmune cells which are becoming highly reactive.
Signs of autoimmune diseases may look very subtle at first, but when you start noticing changes in your body which seems to develop faster than it should be, always consult with your doctor.
Autoimmune disease symptoms may be managed by administering immunosuppressive drugs. Some of the symptoms may be irreversible such as hair loss but immune system disorders may be corrected if caught early.