There are an estimated 14 to 23 million Americans who suffer from some form of an autoimmune disorder. Three quarters of that number are female. Autoimmune disorders consist of a group of 80 or more ailments that include maladies such as type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. These disorders are wide spread and are almost as common as cancer and heart disease. When plagued with one of these disorders, what’s occurring inside you is basically, your immune system turns against you and attacks healthy organs and tissues within your body.
Because of the frequency in which autoimmune disorders occur, doctors now have a better understanding as to what causes them and are developing better diagnostic tools and treatments. Medication therapy has been developed that is able to target specific parts of your immune system that are responsible for the diseases. The increase in the number of incidences of autoimmune disorders has been attributed to the dramatic increases in airborne pollutants and chemicals in the environment. These toxic contaminates activate one’s immune system in much the same way infections do.
Additionally, the rising obese members of our population also come into play, because obesity causes inflammation which can prompt the body’s immune system to attack itself. There is also the hygiene hypothesis theory. The increased use of antibacterial cleaners and other products have reduced our exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other germs. This lack of exposure causes the immune system to develop differently. Because autoimmune disorders affect so many women, there is also belief that the hormone estrogen may play a role. As research continues into its causes and cures other factors discovered that can stimulate autoimmune system inflammation are; lifestyle and chronic stress, heredity, as well as previous diseases and infections to name a few.
Medication therapy is the leading treatment mechanism used to treat most autoimmune disorders. To protect immune system and reduce your exposure to an autoimmune disorder;
Exercise more frequently. Exercise strengthens your body’s immune system as well as reduces its levels of stress hormones. Low impact exercises such as walking, bicycling, and swimming can also reduce the incapacitating fatigue that accompanies autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple scleroses.
Use environmentally safe cleaning supplies at work and at home. Reduce your exposure to the multiple harmful chemicals found in most household cleaners.
Quit smoking or never start. Smoking doubles your risk of rheumatoid arthritis and experts believe it probably increases your odds of contracting other autoimmune disorders.
Maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight can induce inflammation in your body which can activate your immune system negatively.
Watch your diet. What we eat is always cardinal to our body’s health. Reduced red meat intake, increased consumption of healthy green vegetables, elimination of processed foods, and drinking plenty of healthy water will keep your immune system strong and able to ward of autoimmune disorder attacks.
Autoimmune disorders have risen sharply in our communities lately. You need to protect yourself and your family so it does not affect your home. Learn what you can do to insulate you and your family, then do it!
Resource: When Your Body Turns Against Itself – Woman’s Day – November, 2008