Common Autoimmune Diseases —-Maintaining Good Health

The role of the immune system  to protect against disease or other potentially damaging foreign bodies

. When the immune system is functioning properly, it identifies a variety of threats, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, and distinguishes them from the body’s own healthy tissue, an autoimmune is an illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system.

The major components of the immune system include:

Lymph nodes: Small, bean-shaped structures that produce and store cells that fight infection and disease and are part of the lymphatic system — which consists of bone marrow, spleen, thymus and lymph nodes The Lymph also carries white blood cells, which are responsible for protecting the body against viruses and bacteria and may also trap cancer cells. Lymph nodes are located throughout the body but the largest groupings are found in the neck, armpits, and groin areas.,

Spleen:

The Spleen which is the largest lymphatic organ in the body, and is situated on your left side, under your ribs above your stomach, contains white blood cells that fight infection or disease. the spleen also controls the amount of blood in the body and disposes of old and damaged blood cells.

Bone marrow:

Bone Marrow is a soft fatty substance in the cavities of bones, in which blood cells are produced. This spongy tissue inside some bones, such as the hip and thigh bones, contains immature cells, called stem cells,

Lymphocytes:

Lymphocytes are small white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body against disease. The two types of lymphocytes are B-cells and T cells,  the B cells make antibodies that attack bacteria and toxins, and the T-cells, help to destroy infected or cancerous cells. There are two groups of T-cells a subgroup of T-cells that kill cells that are infected with viruses and other pathogens or are otherwise damaged. Helper T-cells help determine which immune responses the body makes to a particular pathogen.

Thymus:

The thymus is a  small organ where T-cells mature. This organ  is situated beneath the breastbone (and is shaped like a thyme leaf,)it can trigger or maintain the production of antibodies that can result in muscle weakness,

Leukocytes:

Leukocytes are the disease-fighting white blood cells that identify and eliminate pathogens and are the second arm of the innate immune system.

A high white blood cell count is not related to a specific disease, but it can indicate other problems, such as infection, stress, inflammation, trauma, allergy, or certain diseases.

Diseases of the immune system

Disorders of the immune system can result in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer,

Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is not as strong as normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections,

In humans, immunodeficiency is either through a genetic disease such as severe combined immunodeficiency,  an acquired condition such as HIV/AIDS, or through the use of immunosuppressive medication.

Autoimmunity results from a hyperactive immune system attacking normal tissues as if they were foreign bodies, Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus type 1 and systemic lupus erythematosus.

What causes the immune system misfire is not yet known. But it has been noted that some people are more likely to get an autoimmune disease than others.

For example, women get autoimmune diseases at a rate of about 2 to 1 compared to men — 6.4 percent of women vs. 2.7 percent of men. The disease usually starts during a woman’s childbearing years.

Some autoimmune diseases are more common in certain ethnic groups. For example, lupus affects more persons from African-descent and Hispanics more than Caucasians.

Certain autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and lupus, are genetic,   family members inherit a susceptibility to an autoimmune condition. But not every family member will necessarily have the same disease

The incidence of autoimmune diseases is on the increase and researchers suspect environmental factors like infections and exposures to chemicals solvents could also be involved.

Eating high-fat, high-sugar and highly processed foods are suspected but not yet proven as it is linked to inflammation, which can set off an immune response.

There is also another theory which is called the hygiene hypothesis. It is thought because of vaccines and antiseptics, children today are not exposed to as many germs as they were in the past, and this lack of exposure could make their immune system overreact to harmless substances

14 common autoimmune diseases

There are a lot of different autoimmune diseases but this is a list  14 of the most common ones.

1. Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, is caused by the immune system attacking and destroying insulin-producing cells in the pancreas it is the pancreas that produces the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

RA happens when the immune system attacks the joints. This causes redness, warmth, soreness, and stiffness in the joints. This disease can affect people as early as in their 30s

3. Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis

Psoriasis occurs when the skin cells multiply too quickly and do not allow for the normal growth and shedding of the skin cells and The extra cells build up and form red, scaly patches called scales or plaques on the skin.

4. Multiple sclerosis/MS

MS damages the protective coating that surrounds nerve cells. Called the myelin sheath and this affects the transmission messages between the brain and body.

This damage often leads to symptoms like numbness, weakness, balance issues, and results in trouble walking. There are several forms of this disease and they progress at different rates.

5. Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)

Lupus affects many organs, including the joints, kidneys, brain, and heart.

Joint pain, fatigue, and rashes are among the most common symptoms.

6. Inflammatory bowel disease IBD

IBD is a term used to describe inflammation in the lining of the intestines.there are 2  different types of IBD and Each type of IBD affects a different part of the GI tract.

  1. Crohn’s disease which can cause any part of the GI tract to become inflamed from the mouth to the anus.
  2. Ulcerative colitis which affects the lining of the large intestine ant the rectum.

7. Addison’s disease

This disease affects the adrenal glands, which produce the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. The body uses these two hormones store and uses carbohydrates and sugar and having  too little of these hormones can affect the body

Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and low blood sugar.

8. Graves’ disease

Thyroid hormones control the body’s energy usage or metabolism.and  Graves disease attacks the thyroid gland in the neck, causing it to produce too much of its hormones.

Having too many hormones increases the body’s activities, causing symptoms like nervousness, a fast heartbeat, heat intolerance, and weight loss.

The most common symptom of this disease is bulging eyes, It affects about 50 percent of people with Graves’ disease

9. Sjögren’s syndrome

This condition attacks the joints and the glands that provide lubrication to the eyes and mouth. The symptoms of disease are joint pain, dry eyes, and dry mouth.

10. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

This disease slows the thyroid hormone production. And symptoms of the disease include weight gain, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, hair loss, and swelling of the thyroid

11. Myasthenia gravis

This disease cause impairment of the nerves that help the brain control the muscles. When these nerves are impaired, signals can not  direct the muscles to move.

The most common symptom is muscles that control swallowing and facial movements are often involved. The muscle gets weak worsen with activity and usually improves with rest.

12. Vasculitis

Vasculitis causes inflammation in the veins this results in the  narrowing of the arteries and veins, allowing less blood to flow through them.

13. Pernicious anemia

Without vitamin B-12 , the body can’t make enough red blood cells.and this disease affects the protein intrinsic factor that helps the intestines absorbs vitamin B-12 from foods This disease is usually found in adults over the age of 60

14. Celiac disease

This disease affects about 1 percent of persons in the USA and if affect the intestines when gluten is consumed. Being gluten sensitive is not an autoimmune disease but they both have similar symptoms eg. diarrhea and abdominal pain

Conclusion

There is no known cure for the autoimmune disease but it is said that a healthy lifestyle healthy diet and some exercise will lessen the effects of the symptoms. And of course you must take any and all medication prescribed by your physician.

And should there be a problem with any of the medication like side effects please speak to your doctor remember you are your best advocate you know how you are feeling and if you do not tell your, doctors, the will not know

Thank you for reading my post, I do hope you found it helpful and informative Please stop by again and should you have a question or comment please leave it in the space provided at below and I will reply.

I have left a link to some easy exercise by Silver Sneakers I hope you enjoy them

Fix Your Pain: Shoulders

So long, shoulder pain!

Posted by SilverSneakers on Wednesday, October 3, 2018

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Living with Coronary Heart Disease–Maintaining Good Health

Coronary Heart Disease

When plaque builds up,  it narrows the coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients this causes the coronary arteries to become diseased.

The plaque is caused by deposits containing cholesterol and this along with inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease.

The decreased blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.

Coronary artery disease often develops over a long time and this may cause the problem to go unnoticed until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. But there’s plenty you can do to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. A healthy lifestyle can have  a big impact on heart health

.

  • Development of atherosclerosis       (plaques of fatty material on their inner walls)

Damage or injury to the inner layer of a coronary artery can start the process  of Coronary artery disease, The damage may be caused by various factors, including:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Plaque is made of cholesterol and other cellular waste products that accumulate at the site of an injury to a blood vessel in a process called atherosclerosis. If the surface of the plaque breaks or ruptures, blood cells called platelets (the functions of these platelets is to react to bleeding from blood vessels so they will clump at the site to try to repair the artery.) This clump can block the artery, leading to a heart attack.

Risk factors

There are many things that make one at risk these include:

Ones age getting older increases your risk of damaged and narrowed arteries.

  • Gender. Men are usually at greater risk of coronary artery disease. women’s risk increases after menopause.
  • Family history. If a close relative developed heart disease at an early age. Your risk is highest if your father or a brother was diagnosed with heart disease before age 55 or if your mother or a sister developed it before age 65.
  • Smoking. People who smoke have an increased risk of heart disease, and exposing others to secondhand smoke also increases their risk of coronary artery disease.
  • High blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in hardening and thickening of your arteries and this causes the narrowing of the channel through which blood can flow.
  • High blood cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of formation of plaque, (made up of fatty material on their inner walls also known as atherosclerosis). High cholesterol can be caused by a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as the “bad” cholesterol. A low level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as the “good” cholesterol, can also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes is also associated with a high risk of coronary artery disease. Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease have similar risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure being obese increases the chances of coronary heart disease.
  • Physical inactivity. A sedentary lifestyle is also associated with coronary artery disease and some of its risk factors, as well.

High stress. Being in a constant stressful state in one’s life may damage the arteries as well as worsen other risk factors for coronary artery disease.

  • Unhealthy diet. Eating too much food that has high amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, salt, and sugar can increase your risk of coronary artery disease.

Risk factors often occur together and may build on one another, such as obesity leading to type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. When they occur together, certain risk factors put you at an even greater risk of coronary artery disease. For example, a metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that include high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL, or “good,” cholesterol, elevated insulin levels and excess body fat around the waist, these conditions increase the risk of coronary artery disease.

There are some other disorders that can cause coronary artery disease that is not apart of the classic risk factors. These are :

Sleep apnea. This disorder causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing while you’re sleeping. This causes sudden drops in blood oxygen levels, and this increases blood pressure and strains the cardiovascular system, possibly leading to coronary artery disease.

  • High triglycerides. Is a type of fat (lipid) that is found in the blood at high levels and may increase the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.
  • Homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid and is important to the body for the use of making protein, and to build and maintain tissue. But high levels of homocysteine may also increase the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Preeclampsia. This condition that usually develops in women during pregnancy it causes high blood pressure and a higher amount of protein in the urine. This condition can lead to a higher risk of heart disease later in life.
  • Alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use is generally not good for one’s health and can lead to heart muscle damage. It can also worsen other risk factors of coronary artery disease.
  • Autoimmune diseases. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus (and other inflammatory rheumatologic conditions) persons who have these conditions have an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Complications

Coronary artery disease can lead to Chest pain (angina), Heart attack. Heart failure. Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)

The same lifestyle habits that can help treat coronary artery disease can also help prevent it, and other diseases from developing in the first place. Leading a healthy lifestyle can help keep your arteries strong and clear of plaque. To improve your overall health, you should:

  • Quit smoking
  • Control conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
  • Stay physically active
  • Eat a low-fat, low-salt diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce and manage stress

I would like to introduce to you the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet The DASH diet is shown to reduces the risk of many diseases, including some kinds of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones, and diabetes. It has been proven to be an effective way not only to lose weight but become healthier at the same time.

The diet is made up of

grains and grain products

(include at least 3 whole grain foods each day)

Fruits

Vegetables

Low fat or non-fat dairy foods

Lean meats, fish, poultry

Nuts, seeds, and legumes

Fats and sweets in very small quantities

For those of us who have a sedentary lifestyle here is a link to some easy exercise from Silver Sneakers hope you enjoy them.

Fix Your Pain: Knees

Most knee pain is caused by muscle imbalances above and below it. Here’s the fix.

Posted by SilverSneakers on Monday, September 24, 2018

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NOTE:  This post includes affiliate links, which, if clicked on and a product purchased, I get a small commission (with no increase in cost to you).

C.

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Common Heart Disease—-Maintaining Good Health

THE HEART AND ITS FUNCTIONS

Our heart is a pump. It is a muscular organ about the size of our fist, situated slightly left of center in our chest. our heart is divided into the right and the left side.

The division is very important as it  prevents oxygen-rich blood from mixing with the  oxygen-poor blood that returns to the heart after circulating through our body.

  • The right side of the heart,consist of  the right atrium and ventricle, these collects and pumps blood to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries.
  • The lungs then refreshes  the blood with a new supply of oxygen. The lungs also breathe out the waste product of carbon dioxide
  • Then the richly oxygenated -rich blood enters the left side of the heart, comprising the left atrium and ventricle.
  • The left side of the heart pumps blood through the aorta to supply tissues throughout the body with oxygen and nutrient

There are four valves within our heart they keep our blood moving the right way by opening only one way and only when they need to.

To function properly, the valve must be formed properly, must open all the way and must close tightly so there’s no leakage. The four valves are:

  • Tricuspid
  • Mitral
  • Pulmonary
  • Aortic

Heartbeats

A beating heart contracts and relaxes in a continuous cycle.

  • During contraction (systole), your ventricles contract, forcing blood into the vessels to your lungs and body.
  • During relaxation (diastole), the ventricles are filled with blood coming from the upper chambers (left and right atria).

Electrical system

Your heart’s electrical wiring keeps it beating, which controls the continuous exchange of oxygen-rich blood with oxygen-poor blood. This exchange keeps you alive.

There are Various heart disease causes

Development of atherosclerosis Cardiovascular disease can refer to different heart or blood vessel problems, the term is often used to mean damage to your heart or blood vessels by atherosclerosis is a buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries.

The build-up plaque buildup thickens and stiffens artery walls, and this can inhibit blood flow through your arteries to our organs and tissues.

Atherosclerosis is also the most common cause of cardiovascular disease. It can be caused by a lifestyle that if changes are made the problems can be corrected,

Changing an unhealthy diet, for a healthier diet,  lack of exercise,for some exercise for at least 30 min a day, being overweight losing weight and this will be achieved with a healthier diet and exercise  and smoking, quit smoking, this may be hard to do but we can get aid from our healthcare provider

Causes of heart arrhythmia ( This list is taken from Mayo Clinic website)

Common causes of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or conditions that can lead to arrhythmias include:

  • Heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects)
  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
  • Drug abuse
  • Stress
  • Some over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies

In a healthy person with a normal, healthy heart, it’s unlikely for a fatal arrhythmia to develop without some outside trigger, such as an electrical shock or the use of illegal drugs. That’s primarily because a healthy person’s heart is free from any abnormal conditions that cause an arrhythmia, such as an area of scarred tissue.https:

However, in a heart that’s diseased or deformed, the heart’s electrical impulses may not properly start or travel through the heart, making arrhythmias more likely to develop.

Causes of congenital heart defects

Congenital heart defects usually develop while a baby is in the womb. Heart defects can develop as the heart develops, about a month after conception. There are some medical conditions, medications, and genes that can play a role in causing heart defects.

Congenital heart defects usually become evident soon after birth.  And the symptoms include:

  • Pale gray or blue skin color (cyanosis)
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
  • In an infant, shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain

The less serious congenital heart defects are often not diagnosed until later in childhood or during adulthood. Signs and symptoms of the not life-threatening congenital heart defects are

Easily getting short of breath during exercise or activity

  • Easily tiring during exercise or activity
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet

Heart defects can also be age-related. As we age, our heart’s structure can change, causing a heart defect.

Heart disease symptoms caused by weak heart muscle (dilated cardiomyopathy)

There may be no signs or symptoms in the early onset of  dilated cardiomyopathy disease but as the disease progress and condition worsens symptoms may occur and may include:

  • Breathlessness with exertion or at rest
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting

This heart disease can be inherited as well as some other diseases and, conditions or abused substances can cause this disease. some of the diseases that can contribute to the weakening of the heart muscles are -Coronary heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, viral hepatitis, and HIV.

Heart disease symptoms caused by heart infections ( list taken from Mayo Clinic web site)

Endocarditis is an infection that affects the inner membrane that separates the chambers and valves of the heart (endocardium). Heart infection symptoms can include:

Fever

Shortness of breath

  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Swelling in your legs or abdomen
  • Changes in your heart rhythm
  • A dry or a persistent cough
  • Skin rashes or unusual spots

Endocarditis is a rare disease that involves inflammation of the lining of the heart muscles, and heart valves.

It is also known as infective endocarditis (IE), bacterial endocarditis (BE), infectious endocarditis, and fungal endocarditis.

The infection is normally caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria. Rarely, it can be caused by fungi or other infectious micro-organisms.

It is twice as common in men as in women and about 25 percent of adults  60 and above are affected.

The practicing of good hygiene can help in preventing infections and bacteria.

Heart disease symptoms caused by valvular heart disease

The heart has four valves — the aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid valves — that open and close to direct blood flow through your heart. Valves may be damaged by a variety of conditions leading to narrowing (stenosis), leaking (regurgitation or insufficiency) or improper closing (prolapse).

Depending on which valve isn’t working properly, valvular heart disease symptoms generally include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting (syncope)

Heart valve disease occurs when your heart’s valves do not work the way they should   In some cases the cause of heart valve disease is unknown but heart valve disease can develop before birth (congenital) or can be acquired sometime during one’s lifetime.

Risk factors for developing heart disease include: List taken from Mayo clinic website

  • Age. Aging increases your risk of damaged and narrowed arteries and weakened or thickened heart muscle.
  • Sex. Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease. However, women’s risk increases after menopause.
  • Family history. A family history of heart disease increases your risk of coronary artery disease, especially if a parent developed it at an early age (before age 55 for a male relative, such as your brother or father, and 65 for a female relative, such as your mother or sister).
  • Smoking. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis. Heart attacks are more common in smokers than in nonsmokers.
  • Certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy for cancer. Some chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapies may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Poor diet. A diet that’s high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol can contribute to the development of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in hardening and thickening of your arteries, narrowing the vessels through which blood flows.
  • High blood cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol in your blood can increase the risk of formation of plaques and atherosclerosis.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease. Both conditions share similar risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
  • Obesity. Excess weight typically worsens other risk factors.
  • Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise also is associated with many forms of heart disease and some of its other risk factors, as well.
  • Stress. Unrelieved stress may damage your arteries and worsen other risk factors for heart disease.
  • Poor hygiene. Not regularly washing your hands and not establishing other habits that can help prevent viral or bacterial infections can put you at risk of heart infections, especially if you already have an underlying heart condition. Poor dental health also may contribute to heart disease.

Complications

Complications of heart disease include:

  • Heart failure. One of the most common complications of heart disease, heart failure occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. Heart failure can result from many forms of heart disease, including heart defects, cardiovascular disease, valvular heart disease, heart infections or cardiomyopathy.
  • Heart attack. A blood clot blocking the blood flow through a blood vessel that feeds the heart causes a heart attack, possibly damaging or destroying a part of the heart muscle. Atherosclerosis can cause a heart attack.
  • Stroke. The risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease also can lead to an ischemic stroke, which happens when the arteries to your brain are narrowed or blocked so that too little blood reaches your brain. A stroke is a medical emergency — brain tissue begins to die within just a few minutes of a stroke.
  • Aneurysm. A serious complication that can occur anywhere in your body, an aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of your artery. If an aneurysm bursts, you may face life-threatening internal bleeding.

Peripheral artery disease.

    • . When you develop peripheral artery disease, your extremities — usually your legs — don’t receive enough blood flow. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking (claudication).
    • Sudden cardiac arrest. A sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness, often caused by an arrhythmia. A sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, it is fatal, resulting in sudden cardiac death.

    Prevention

    Certain types of heart disease, such as heart defects, can not be prevented. However, we can help prevent many other types of heart disease by making the same lifestyle changes that can improve our heart and overall health.such as:-

    • Quit smoking
    • Control other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
    • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week
    • Eat a diet that’s low in salt and saturated fat
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Reduce and manage stress
    • Practice good hygiene

    Conclusion

    Like all disease heart disease is easier to treat when detected early, so if we should speak to our health care provider if we have any concerns regarding your heart health or health in general. If there is concern about developing heart disease then have a talk with the doctor and advice will be given about steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is especially important if there a history of family heart disease

    Thank you so much for reading my blog. I do hope you have found this post helpful and informative please leave your questions, comments in the space provided and I will get back to you. and please drop by again

    I have shared a link to some easy exercises from silver sneakers. hope you like them

    Beginner's Guide: Fitness Ball

    A fitness ball trains your body and brain. Here's how to integrate it into your workout.

    Posted by SilverSneakers on Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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