March 15, 2021

Start Here - What Is Autoimmunity?

By Autoimmune Doc
Start Here - What Is Autoimmunity?



Start Here - What Is Autoimmunity?

Simply put, autoimmunity means that your own immune system is attacking your body, which creates inflammation and damages tissues and leads to symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, brain fog, muscle aches, digestive disorders, inflammatory skin conditions, and more. (a ‘tissue’ is just a part of the body - you have bone tissue, thyroid tissue, brain tissue, skin tissue, etc)

Your immune system is your body’s natural defense system. The immune system’s main job is to protect against invaders - pathogens like bacteria, viruses, yeast, even chemicals like mercury and formaldehyde, and when it gets “invaded” it is the immune system that mounts the attack to get rid of the bad guys and repair the damage. 

Your immune system is like your body’s own security system and police department - when the immune system detects danger it sounds an “alarm” and lets the body know that something has invaded and it needs to be defended. When the “danger signal” is received, the immune system sends support to “target” and “attack” the problem - just like an alarm at your house might send a signal to the police saying “Come quick, we have invaders, we need you to protect us and get rid of the bad guys!”

When these immune system forces are called into action, they bring their best weapon - INFLAMMATION. Inflammation is an immune response, and it’s a healthy and important immune response. Inflammation helps get rid of infections. Inflammation helps protect damaged tissue. Inflammation helps heal. Inflammation can also run rampant and overwhelm the body, and unchecked inflammation is at the root cause of most chronic diseases, so it’s important to have an appropriate inflammation response!

In autoimmunity, the immune system has lost the ability to distinguish “self” (your own body) from “non-self” (infection, bacteria, virus). This would be like if your security system kept going off and calling the police every time you went into your own house. Even worse, this would be like the alarm going off, the police being called, and you end up getting arrested - - for going into your own house! The immune system is confused on who is at fault so you accidentally get the blame and the punishment, which in the case of autoimmunity the punishment is tissue-damaging inflammation.

In the body, the immune system can accidentally “target” and “attack” certain tissues, which leads to inflammation and damage in those tissues. THIS IS AUTOIMMUNITY! If the immune system is “attacking” the thyroid it can be called Hashimoto’s or Graves’ Disease. If the immune system is “attacking” the joints it might be called Rheumatoid Arthritis. If the immune system is “attacking” the myelin sheath of the nerves in the brain it could be called Multiple Sclerosis, or if it “attacks” the skin it could be called Psoriasis or Eczema. The diagnosis, or name they put on your condition, is based on the specifics of the “attack”, but autoimmunity is the mechanism of attack. 

The immune system can be “attacking” any protein or tissue in the body, which is why there are over 100 known autoimmune diseases and counting. This attack can continue to go on for years, and it can be more or less aggressive at different times, triggered by many different factors. 

Science is now discovering that MANY of our chronic inflammatory conditions that we see today have an autoimmune component - the immune system is “attacking” certain tissues and proteins, and if the “attack” continues long enough there will be irreversible damage. 


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