Autoimmunity is a spectrum of diseases. The immune system guards our body against foreign invaders-germs like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.
Autoimmune disease works in a way where our own immune system and antibodies attack our own cells. This is more common in females as compared to males in most of the diseases and the ratio is like 2.25: 1. The disease occurs when body’s immune cells, which are supposed to fight invading toxins, turn against one’s own cells. The disorder, for which there is no cure so far, spares no organs in the body and more often than not affects more than one organ.
A global estimate shows that nearly 700 million people which is around 1/10 th of the global population- suffer from some kind of an autoimmune disease, ranging from mild and moderate to severe.
As per some of the inputs shared by Dr. Aparna Jairam, CEO, Immunocare, Kochi: The real challenge faced is to get the data, before that we have to create awareness because the patient has to go to the clinician and then get clinical data.
In the western countries, there is more awareness of IBDs (Inflammatory bowel disease), encephalitis but if you look at Asian countries like India, it’s now gaining importance and awareness.
The awareness and diagnostic facilities were not in place in our country. This is why it was not yet there in our country yet, but now more and more general physicians, gynaecologists are getting alerted towards it. It’s on the rise, but in India, we have very less data and it is very fragmented. Hence, a lot of clinical data, history, radiological findings, paternal history, and diet history is going to be a big challenge.
It will require a lot of research work and the research requires infrastructure, supporting staff, funds and clinical assistance to get you the samples and data analysis. Our immune system becomes activated when our body recognizes anything that is foreign such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This often triggers a process called inflammation. It is important to consume foods that prevent inflammation.
Foods that cause inflammation should be avoided or limited are as follows:
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, cakes and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- Soda and other aerated & sugary beverages
- Red meat, processed and canned meat
- Refined oil, margarine and lard
Anti-inflammatory foods that are beneficial:
- Olive oil
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
Types of autoimmune diseases are:
- Affects one organ or tissue such as Type-1 Diabetes or Crohn’s disease
- Affects the whole system such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis
- Grave’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
Some common signs of autoimmune diseases are pain in joints, stiffness, excessive tiredness and headaches but having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re prone to autoimmune diseases. All of these diseases might be difficult to diagnose at an early stage and blood tests are hence, important as they are used to confirm their presence. Thus, it is vital to have a healthy immune
It is advisable to consume more anti-inflammatory foods for those having autoimmune diseases as they are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols—protective compounds found in plants. The anti-inflammatory diet is supposed to reset your immune system by avoiding foods that can cause inflammation in your body.