Are you always tired? Does your body ache? Do you have often feel unwell and suffer from low-grade fevers? You might be suffering from an autoimmune disease.
Your immune system is responsible for keeping you healthy and free from harmful infections, bacteria and viruses. Most of the time our immune systems know the difference between pathogens (bad cells, bacteria and foreign bodies that make us sick) and good bacteria. A good immune system certainly knows what is a part of your body, and what isn’t. But sometimes your immune system becomes faulty.
If you have an autoimmune disease your body basically turns on itself. Your immune system starts to attack your own healthy body cells and good bacteria as if they were pathogens.
Autoimmune diseases (there are more than 80 of them) are not always obvious. The symptoms can be very subtle, especially in the early years, and so they often go un-diagnosed for a long time. The time in between can be exhausting and frustrating while you don’t know why you are feeling constantly unwell. Conditions like leaky gut syndrome can affect you for a long time without you even realising that something is really wrong with you.
The average autoimmune disease sufferer will visit the doctor between six and ten times before a diagnosis is made, and it usually takes about five years to do this! Below are some of the signs that you may be suffering from an autoimmune disease.
17 Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease
If you suffer from headaches frequently and can’t seem to understand where they come from it could be a sign of an autoimmune disease. This is often one of the first signs to appear.
You feel anxious and nervous all the time, sometimes for no apparent reason. It becomes your normal way of seeing the world.
Confusion and Poor Concentration
Do you find yourself feeling frequently confused? Do you have “brain fog” that leaves you feeling like you can’t think clearly? Are you struggling to concentrate on anything for longer than a couple of minutes at a time and need to constantly bring yourself back to what you are doing? These are all signs of autoimmune disease.
Skin Irritations, Rashes, Psoriasis and Acne
If your skin often comes out in rashes, bumps and flakes your immune system may be attacking you. These can be all kinds of rashes, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and even eczema. All of these skin conditions can be signs of a faulty immune system turning on you.
An allergic reaction is an immune system function that is over-reacting to a stimulus in your system. Having allergies tells you right away that your immune system is not behaving normally and you should be aware of any other symptoms that point towards autoimmune diseases.
Asthma is another sign that your immune system is not functioning properly. It is often coupled with allergies.
This is a symptom that is often over looked. If you often have a dry mouth or feel thirsty all the time it could be due to your body trying to cope with autoimmune disease. Thirst is also a sign of thyroid issues, which in turn are also connected to autoimmune diseases Hashimoto’s disease (underactive thyroid) and Graves disease (overactive thyroid).
Frequent Colds and a feeling of being Unwell
If you suffer from frequent colds don’t just brush it off as a weak immune system. It could be that your immune system is actually working against you instead of for you.
Low Energy levels or hyperactivity
Whether you are constantly exhausted and fatigues, or you have frequent patches of hyperactivity, your energy levels are being effected. Unbalanced energy levels are signs that your body is fighting a battle that you might not even be aware of.
Unexplained weight gain or weigh loss
Sudden changes to your body weight are signs of illness. Sometimes the illness might not even be apparent to you at first, but you should definitely be aware of any other symptoms.
Body Aches, Muscle Pain and Joint Stiffness
These can be signs of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia – both of which are autoimmune diseases which cause your immune system to attack body cells.
Digestive tract symptoms
If you suffer from any of these symptoms regularly you should discuss the possibility of leaky gut with your doctor, especially if you have a family history of autoimmune diseases:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Gas and flatulence
See the section below on how your gut can trigger autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune Disease and your Gut
The most common signs of autoimmune disease are problems with your digestion, your gut and your stomach. Most people with autoimmune diseases also have leaky gut syndrome, and often they don’t even know it. They just feel sickly. Having a leaky gut can actually trigger autoimmune disease, and that is why it is so important to take care of the good health of your intestine.
Leaky gut is something that happens when your intestine becomes inflamed and damaged. It can be caused by infection or a gastric upset, but is also caused by inflammation. Years of eating junk food, taking pain pills and being stressed can cause inflammation in your gut and destroy the good bacteria which is supposed to protect you. The result is that the lining in your intestines is damaged and that is when leaks are developed. These leaks can sometimes heal if your system is fairly healthy, but if you continue to antagonise the situation with damaging foods and substances the chances are it will only get worse.
A leaky gut allows all kinds of bacteria, viruses, fungus, chemicals and pathogens direct access to your bloodstream. Your immune system is triggered as your body tries to deal with the influx of unchecked substances. It sees all foreign matter as infection that needs to be fought. To do this it produces T cells. The problem is that T cells also irritate and inflame healthy cells, and if you have a genetic predisposition to autoimmune diseases these genes will be triggered.
Different Kinds of Autoimmune Disease
If you don’t know which diseases are autoimmune dieses you may be wondering what is so bad about having them. There is more to it than feeling unwell, though. Some autoimmune diseases can be debilitating and even fatal. Take a look at the list of autoimmune diseases below and see if you recognise any of them:
- Addison’s disease
- Alopecia areata
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Autoimmune hemolyticanemia
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Autoimmune pancreatitis
- Autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type II
- Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis
- Celiac disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Graves’ disease
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome
- Hashimoto’s encephalopathy
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Interstitial cystitis
- Juvenile arthritis
- Ménière’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcus (PANDAS)
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Reiter syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Rheumatic fever
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Transverse myelitis
- Ulcerative colitis
Now that you know how serious autoimmune diseases are, take a look at your health. If you have any recurring symptoms you should take them very seriously. You can also see yet another reason why maintaining a healthy diet and healthy digestive tract is so crucial to your good health.
When you start healing your digestive system, it will boost your immune system and prevent your body from attacking itself. Here are 3 important tips to strengthen your digestive system.
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Is your blood making you sick? Watch this video presentation and find out how to alkalize your body..
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