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The science of autoimmune disease


🍂This is the first in a series of posts about autoimmune disease, one of the most common issues I see in clinic

🍂Autoimmune disease has been rising rapidly in recent decades.

🍂Today is an overview, in the next week I'll be covering the role of diet, nutrition, stress, sleep, exercise and more, and ways you can change these to improve autoimmune disease symptoms

🍂The immune system is a highly complex body function that acts as a continuum - too little immune function and you catch infections, too much immune function and the body starts to react against either itself (autoimmune disease), or harmless proteins (food allergies/eczema/asthma etc)

🍂Its a constant balance between fighting off harmful pathogens(germs/toxins), and maintaining healthy immune function (destroying damaged cells, healing wounds, killing cancerous cells)

🍂There are two types of immunity - innate (the first rapid step, where immune cells find and destroy 'invaders'), and adaptive (the slower 'memory' immunity, where the body remembers these invaders and can fight them off more effectively)

🍂Innate immunity is present at birth, adaptive immunity develops over time

🍂Innate immunity includes certain white blood cells, and physical barriers ie skin, gut wall, nose/throat/lungs, eyes, and blood brain barrier

🍂Innate immune cells attack and destroy disease causing microbes that get past the physical barriers, it also transports them to the adaptive immune cells

🍂The adaptive immune cells are the second line of defence, these fight off germs that have not been destroyed by the innate immune system

🍂These include T and B white blood cells, which are trained to remember previous infections. They do this via antigens (unique proteins on the surface of microbes)

🍂T cells recognise and bind to antigens, they also control the immune response and keep it in balance

🍂B cells produce antibodies (proteins that identify and attack antigens)

🍂 Autoimmune disease occurs when the bodies immune system gets confused, and these T and B cells start to attack antigens on the bodies own cells

🍂In my next post I'll discuss what triggers autoimmune disease 🙏

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