There are over 80 types of autoimmune diseases affecting the population. Autoimmune disease is among the ten leading causes of death among women up to age 65. Recent research suggests that the prevalence of autoimmune disease in the population is increasing. There are a variety of factors that are known or suspected causes of autoimmune disease, including genetics, environmental toxins, infectious agents, and dietary factors. The increase in autoimmune disease is likely as a result of increased exposure to toxins in the environment, such as pesticides in foods, and industrial chemicals in the water and air.
Protection of the body from invaders that cause viral and bacterial infection, as well as cancer cells, is dependent on a strong, healthy immune system. The immune system needs several different kinds of cells to function properly, including cells that target invaders, as well as regulatory cells that prevent the ‘fighter’ cells from being overactive. Autoimmune disease occurs when there is an imbalance between the fighter and regulatory cells, or if the fighter cells mistakenly label your body’s own cells as being the enemy. The result within the body is inflammation, and possibly destruction in the body, on a small or large scale, causing pain, organ dysfunction, and manifesting as various forms of disease. Just about any part of the body can be affected by autoimmune conditions, resulting in issues with the skin, digestive system, heart and blood vessels, lungs, nervous system, joints, and even bones.