Difference between the immune and autoimmune system
The immune system is the body’s defence system against harmful substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. It is made up of various cells, proteins, and organs that work together to protect the body from infection and disease. The immune system has the ability to recognize and differentiate between “self” and “non-self” cells and molecules and can mount an attack against anything that it perceives as foreign or dangerous.
An autoimmune disorder, on the other hand, is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues in the body. The body’s immune system attacks healthy cells instead of attacking pathogens or foreign cells like it should. This results in chronic inflammation and damage to healthy tissue.
In other words, the immune system is designed to protect the body from harmful invaders and the autoimmune system is when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells and tissues.
There are many different types of autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, that can affect different parts of the body. The symptoms, causes, and treatment options vary depending on the specific disorder.
It’s important to note that the underlying causes of autoimmune disorders are not well understood, but genetics and environmental factors are thought to play a role. The treatments for autoimmune disorders often focus on managing symptoms and suppressing the immune response, rather than curing the underlying disorder.
The best practices to safeguard our immune system
Here are some best practices to help safeguard your immune system:
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can provide the nutrients your immune system needs to function properly.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is important for the immune system, as it allows the body to repair and regenerate. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help to boost the immune system and improve overall health.
- Manage stress: High levels of stress can weaken the immune system. Try to find ways to relax and manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
- Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption: Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infection.
- Wash your hands: Washing your hands regularly can help to prevent the spread of germs and infection.
- Get vaccinated: Vaccines help to protect against a variety of infectious diseases, which can be a great way to bolster the immune system against attack.
- Stay Hydrated: Keep your body hydrated, this helps your body function properly and stay healthy.
It is important to note that some practices may have more evidence than others and that the impact of these practices may vary between people. It’s important to consult a healthcare provider or a qualified professional before making any drastic changes in your lifestyle or taking supplements, to make sure they’re safe and appropriate for you.
Development/emergence of autoimmune system in the human body
The exact cause of autoimmune disorders is not fully understood. It is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors that interact to trigger the immune system to attack healthy cells and tissues in the body.
One theory is that genetic factors make certain individuals more susceptible to developing autoimmune disorders. Studies have shown that autoimmune disorders tend to run in families, and certain genetic variations have been associated with increased risk for certain disorders.
Another theory is that environmental factors, such as infection, exposure to toxins or certain medications, or stress, can trigger the immune system to attack healthy cells and tissues in susceptible individuals.
Epidemiological studies suggest that environmental exposures can trigger autoimmunity by altering the balance between regulatory and effector T cells, or by altering the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
The “hygiene hypothesis” theory proposes that the increased prevalence of autoimmune diseases is a result of the lack of exposure to microorganisms and other antigens during childhood, leading to an imbalance of the immune system.
The “molecular mimicry” theory proposes that infection with certain viruses or bacteria can trigger autoimmune disorders by causing the immune system to mistakenly attack healthy cells and tissues that resemble the infectious agent.
Other theories suggest that hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, or even gut microbiome imbalances may play a role in the development of autoimmune disorders.
It is important to note that autoimmune disorders are complex and multifactorial. There is still much to learn about the underlying causes and triggers of these disorders, and research is ongoing to better understand the mechanisms involved.