An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system produces antibodies against its own body parts and causes various symptoms related to that body part. The etiology of autoimmune disease remains unknown, but certain autoimmune diseases may be triggered by environmental factors and infections. The most common symptoms are fever and fatigue; most of the times they are intermittent.
The most common autoimmune diseases are:
Rheumatoid Arthritis: In this, there is a production of auto-antibodies that are attached to joint lining. The auto-antibodies produced attack various joints of the body leading to inflammation that causes pain and swelling. If it is left untreated, it gradually leads to permanent damage of joints.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: In lupus autoantibodies are produced against various tissues of the body including skin, joints, blood cells, lungs, nerves, and kidneys.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease: In IBD autoantibodies are produced against the lining of intestines that causes either diarrhea or constipation or both along with abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, rectal bleeding, bowel urgency. The most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Psoriasis: In this the skin is affected leading to collection of T-cells onto the skin, which causes abnormal reproduction of skin cells causing scaly-silvery plaques on skin. It is mostly treated with steroids.
Grave’s Disease: In this the antibodies stimulate the production of thyroid hormones leading to hyperthyroidism.
Hashimoto’s disease: In this autoantibodies are produced that destroy thyroid gland causing under activity of thyroid gland leading to hypothyroidism. The treatment of this disease includes thyroid hormone supplement in the form of levothyroxine.
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: In this the autoantibodies destroy beta cells of pancreas, which help in insulin production. In Type 1 diabetes, insulin injections are required since diagnosis of the disease.
Myasthenia Gravis: In this autoantibodies are produced against nerves that lead to under stimulation of muscles. This leads to weakness of muscles that worsens with physical activity. Pyridostigmine is the first line of treatment of Myasthenia gravis.
Vasculitis: In this the antibodies are produced against blood vessels and since blood vessels supply all the organs, any organ might be affected. Treatment includes immunosuppressants.
What Foods to Avoid If You Have Autoimmune Disease?
There are certain foods to be avoided when an individual is suffering from an autoimmune disease as these foods might be a trigger to these autoimmune conditions and might lead to flare-up of symptoms. These foods might lead to inflammatory response in the body thus worsening autoimmune condition.
The foods that should be avoided are:
Gluten: This is found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and other grains too. Gluten is mostly found to worsen Celiac disease and cause leaky gut. It is advised to avoid foods contaminated with gluten. It is also best to avoid grains all together, including gluten-free grains such as rice, oats and corn as even these might trigger autoimmune response in the body.
Dairy: The main protein, casein, that is found in milk and other dairy products acts as a trigger for inflammatory responses in the body.
Quinoa: This is high in saponin protein that triggers immune response, so it is best avoided.
Chocolate: One should avoid chocolate in autoimmune diseases as this has a negative effect on immune system.
Sugars: It is best to avoid sugars in all forms whether healthy, unhealthy or organic.
Nightshade Vegetables: This is a plant group consisting of tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, goji berries and some spices that contain alkaloids, which are known to trigger inflammatory response in the body.
Eggs: Egg white contains protease enzyme, which is supposed to cause inflammatory response, so egg white is particularly avoided.
Nuts: These are also avoided as they have higher chances of allergies.
Stress also might be a contributing factor in autoimmune disease, so one should particularly avoid stress when suffering from autoimmune disease and otherwise too.
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