The nature of our body system is built in such a way that there are specialized cells in every living unit or tissue of our body. The immune cells are responsible for body defense and they make sure every unit of the living tissue is monitored and protected.
Just like countries have security organs responsible for the defence of the nation, the immune cells are made to protect your body from diseases and foreign invasion.
Now there are countless immune cells in every unit or part of the body that are constantly working to keep you healthy by identifying, packaging, and eliminating harmful substances that have made their way into your body system.
If your immune system falters and begins to identify some of your own tissues as being harmful or unnecessary, it will work to attack and eliminate these tissues through an inflammatory response that can cause pain and discomfort in many forms.
In medicine, we refer to the illnesses that a rise as a result of the self body attack as autoimmune diseases. The auto-immune diseases have a rare occurrence and are greatly linked with genes of some individuals or families.
But just because you have a genetic predisposition for an autoimmune illness does not necessarily mean that you will suffer from the auto-immune illnesses during your life or you cannot recover from the disease once treated.
Genetic predispositions are largely triggered, maintained, and kept under control by several factors such as lifestyle related or the environmental factors among others. Important factors to consider here include the lifestyle, diet and how much stress you experience.
This is why parents tend to check the lifestyle of their children or friends to avoid a wasteful life. From the medical perspective, we describe the possible occurrence or rebellion by your own body cells as a result of abused lifestyle that leads to lack of rest, lack of optimal nourishment, accumulation of waste products, and direct insult by excessive amounts of free radicals and toxins.
All these factors make your body cells to gradually become less efficient at eliminating waste products and exogenous toxins. Exogenous toxins are toxins produced outside your body system.
Eventually, waste products and toxins may incorporate themselves into your cell membranes, and if this happens, your immune system may identify such cells as being old and damaged. At that point, your immune system will work to attack and eliminate such cells from your body.
Another important security organ to mention in our body is our antigen-anti-body collaboration system to check infection. Just like every nation do possess the military and police. The anti-body and antigen core form the policing part of our body system.
The antigen checks the possible for foreign invasion or infection and the antibody is there to fight against the infection. Under normal laboratory investigations, the antigen should appear first in blood and then anti-body later. If the reverse is true the patient condition is considered false positive and a subject of investigation or research.
Under normal circumstances the antigen has noticed a foreign invasion that could be a virus or bacteria; the body produces antibodies so as to create resistance and fight of the infection.
In the case of auto-immune, the anti-body will attach to the cell membranes of cells that have been identified as old and damaged, and then sending other components of your immune system to destroy these antibody-tagged cells.
Your immune system destroys such cells using a process of inflammation, which is why autoimmune illness is often accompanied by discomfort or pain. Pain is as a result of inflammation and once the doctor has monitored the course of your illness, then he or she prescribes corticosteroids as one of his initial management plan.
One of the mostly encountered auto-immune diseases in our society is the rheumatoid arthritis. If the genetically weak cells are those that line joints of your body, then destruction of old and damaged cells in and around your joints may be diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.
There are many diseases associated with auto-immune such as ankylosing spondylitis, Grave’s disease of the thyroid, multiple sclerosis among others.
Dr Joseph Kamugisha is a resident oncologist in Jerusalem, Israel