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By J. Manuel Cordova, M. D.t.Immune System & Autoimmune Diseases
When Man was created, he was equipped with a series of mechanisms to provide protection and defense for the human body. Unfortunately, this process is susceptible to failure and results in illness. These systems of protection are referred to as the Immune System. They include a diversity of elements that activate complex systems which determine how to attack problems. The immune system is equipped with a massive memory data bank and recognizes organisms to act as protective triggers in finding the right answers.
When the Immunological system fails or is debilitated it can be for diverse reasons. Today we know that genetic factors and the environment can add to the stress factors which can result in a partial absence or weakening of the defending systems of an organism. The Immunological system can also get confused and trigger a mistaken answer. The body will exert measures of self-protection which we refer to as ´Autoimmunity´.
Autoimmune disease is the third highest cause of disability and mortality in the industrialized world, surpassed only by cancer and heart disease. (The Immunology Journal 2005)
Collectively, Autoimmune Diseases have been identified in approximately 24 million people in the U.S. which is only one third of the projected number affected, or 72 million. (National Institute of Health Committee 2006). In this same time period, cancer affected approximately 9 million people and heart disease affected approximately 22 million in the U.S.
Thyroid Autoimmune diseases are the most frequent and women appear to be more susceptible to the autoimmune diseases than men.
We now know there is a frequent interrelationship between Coronary Disease and some Immunological diseases such as Celiac Disease. As many as 39% of coronary disease deaths are also attributable to auto immune problems. (Internal Medicine Journal July 2003)
Today, we have defined many diseases of immunological origin and their impact on human health. Unfortunately, little has been done about ´prevention.´
Scientific studies, new Integrative Medicine techniques and ability to communicate with doctors around the world are showing great promise in treating auto immune diseases. Identifying and avoiding certain environmental risks that trigger disease is one way of prevention. Wellness medicine, detox and good nutrition are also important in the prevention of illness and disease.