Autoimmune disease happens when our body’s defense system cannot distinguish between our own cells and foreign cells. Thus, our body starts attacking its own normal cells.
According to health experts, there are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid diseases (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism, etc.), lupus, psoriasis, and the list goes on. However, it might take some time to receive a proper diagnosis.
The same source mentions that because there is not a single test that could give the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease, it might take several visits to the doctor until people understand what is happening to them. The most common initial symptoms listed are fatigue, skin conditions, swelling, and joint pain, digestion problems, and swollen glands.
The U.S National Institutes of Health mentions that over 24 million U.S residents suffer from different autoimmune diseases. Around 25% of those diagnosed with an autoimmune disease could develop another one. Worldwide the statistics show that between 3 to 5% of the world’s population suffers from autoimmune diseases. An unfortunate reality is that 80% of people with autoimmune diseases are women.
Why are women more prone to develop autoimmune diseases?
According to experts, it happens because women have two X chromosomes. This means they have more possibilities for a mutation to occur than men do. Women receive an X chromosome from their father, which could be perceived as an external substance. When women get pregnant, half of the baby’s DNA comes from the father. The same process happens, and when the body gets confused, it starts attacking itself.
What can trigger autoimmune diseases?
Although most sources mention that the most common causes are genetics, our diets and lifestyles, medication, smoking, and the environment, stress is on the top of the list. Studies mention that 80% of people diagnosed with an autoimmune disease have been through a lot of stress, be it physical, emotional, or interpersonal stress.