What you need to know autoimmune diseases

Kay’s Naturals shares information as a service to our customers. We are not endorsing this article as medical advice, but purely for information purposes.  If you think you have the symptoms described in this article, please consult a licensed physician.

Most of us know that our immune system helps prevent infection and illness. Our immune system is a complex organization of cells and organs with an amazing memory and combat skills to defend us against foreign invaders. Our body can be potentially attacked by hundreds of diverse cells and germs that pretend to be a part of our body. Our immune system needs to recognize these intruders on sight and set up a plan of attack.

A tiny defect in the design of our immune system can prevent the body from knowing the difference between self and non-self. According to the article womenshealth.gov, an autoimmune disease is when the body makes autoantibodies that attack normal cells instead of foreign cells. Moreover, regulatory T cells are unable to maintain a healthy immune system. The consequences of a confused immune system causes an attack on our own body, causing it harm and an autoimmune disease. Kay’s Naturals is dedicating three of our bi weekly articles to autoimmune disease in order to increase public awareness and hopefully lead individuals to healthier, happier lives.

(Source: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/autoimmune-diseases.html)
Autoimmune diseases are increasing and yet finding a cure has remained difficult. According to the article by womenshealth.gov, it is a leading cause of death and disability and affects 23.5 million Americans. It is estimated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that 5-8% percent of Americans have an autoimmune disorder. The symptoms and types of autoimmune disease are vast- there are 80 classifications of autoimmune disease- some with vastly different or remarkably similar symptoms. According to NIH, “often, the first symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches and a low fever. The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain and swelling.”
Anyone can get an autoimmune disease, but some groups have a greater risk. Womenshealth.gov gave the folliwing list those who are most at risk:
Women of childbearing age- More women than men have autoimmune disease, often the onset starts during their childbearing years.
Individuals with a family history- Some autoimmune diseases are genetic (such as lupus and multiple sclerosis. Generally it is a combination of environment and genes that trigger the disease.
People who are exposed to certain environmental factors — Exposure to sunlight, viral and bacterial infection, and chemicals called solvents, may cause an autoimmune disease.
People of certain races or ethnic backgrounds — Some autoimmune diseases affect certain groups of people more than others. For example, type 1 diabetes and celiac disease is more common in white people and Lupus is more common for African-American and Hispanic people.
Diagnosis can be a challenging process. Each autoimmune disease must be treated differently but many share the same symptoms. If you experience troublesome symptoms, it is important to find the cause. Do not give up! Womenshealth.gov gave the following advice to recieve an accurate diagnosis:
“-Write down a complete family health history that includes extended family and share it with your doctor.
-Record any symptoms you have, even if they seem unrelated, and share it with your doctor.
-See a specialist who has experience dealing with your most major symptom. For instance, if you have symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, start with a gastroenterologist. Ask your regular doctor, friends, and others for suggestions.
-Get a second, third, or fourth opinion if need be. If your doctor doesn't take your symptoms seriously or tells you they are stress-related or in your head, see another doctor.”
Kays Naturals is committed providing healthy, easily accessible, foods. Many individuals with an autoimmune disease have diet restrictions that limit the intake of gluten or sugar. All of our products are gluten free and safe for individuals with diabetes because they will not raise blood glucose levels. It is our mission to provide healthy snacks and cereals so everyone has the chance to live their life to the fullest!


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