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Autoimmune Conditions: What are they?

An autoimmune condition is when the body’s own immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissue. Although autoimmune conditions run in families and susceptibility genes have been identified, there are environmental and lifestyle triggers that can set them off.


The autoimmune response is initiated by the release of autoreactive T and B lymphocytes which are responsible for the production of specific mediators such as cytokines and autoantibodies. The release of the autoantibodies is responsible for the tissue damage of healthy cells.  


Autoimmune conditions can lay dormant for years in the body and can flare up at any point, especially if it's triggered by one of the below factors. Ultimately, it’s about how you can serve your body during a flare up and what preventative measures you can put in place to control the nature of the condition.  


So, what exactly triggers an autoimmune condition? 



 Research has found that there is a common link between high stress and autoimmune diagnosis. High levels of stress can raise our cortisol levels which ultimately leads to immune dysregulation. In those who are already genetically predisposed to an autoimmune condition, stress can cause an array of complications, especially to your immune system.  



Pathogenic exposure or infections are a main exacerbation to autoimmune conditions. This is due to a present infection's ability to trigger a release of autoreactive B and T lymphocytes which play a big role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune conditions.  



What we put into our body has the ability to manipulate the severity of a disease. Research has found that those who are diagnosed with an autoimmune condition but continue to indulge in a Western diet, ergo, one that is high in fat, sugar and processed foods, can prolong an autoimmune flare up due to the increased inflammation and reduced nutrient content.  



The relationship between the microbiome and your immune system is something to also consider if you have an autoimmune condition. The health of your microbiome can play an integral role in the exacerbation of an autoimmune condition. In imbalance microbiome can pose a threat to our immune system by dysregulating our natural immune response and increasing inflammation, which can subsequently trigger an autoimmune response.