An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system attacks tissue. Diabetes, lupus, eczema, thyroid conditions and rheumatoid arthritis are all examples of autoimmune disorders.
Your immune system learns what is good for your body (not to be attacked) and what is bad for your body (what is to be attacked).
The first key to understanding autoimmune disease is a genetic predisposition. Your genetic code contains the potential for disease, which may or may not activate based on varying factors.
The next secret to immune issues is the activation of that gene. Your immune system is set off by a trigger and goes after what it perceives to be foreign. Something about the thing it’s attacking appears too similar to your own tissue. Your immune system makes a mistake and goes after both the trigger and your body.
Lastly, your body has barriers to protect you from the threat. The threat has to cross the barrier (skin, lungs, gut, etc.) and enter the immune system in order to kick off the autoimmune issue.
Testing is now available to determine where you may have reactivity. If you know your body is prone to attacking your liver, you know your risk. Autoimmune conditions can take three to ten years to develop. Spotting the triggers early may help arrest the condition.
One of the tests is for your gut. What kind of bacteria are getting through and causing problems? A special blood test can find out.
Another test is for your brain. Viruses and bacteria can enter the brain when the immune system is disruptive. A protein associated with a breakdown in the blood-brain barrier can be detected in testing.
Listen as Dr. Mark Engelman joins Dr. Susanne Bennett to explain why autoimmune disorders occur and how testing can help determine predisposition to autoimmune conditions.