What is an overactive immune system?

An overactive immune system, or autoimmune disorder, is when the immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue instead of the antigens it is supposed to target. Tissue damage, organ damage, and changes in organ function are some of the results of autoimmune diseases. There are more than 60 conditions that are the result of an overactive immune system, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Treatment depends on the condition, many of which are chronic.

The immune system is normally a very efficient defense against harmful substances or antigens, such as bacteria, viruses and bacteria. Exactly why it sometimes goes into overdrive and begins to attack healthy tissue is unknown, but the condition is thought to involve microorganisms such as bacteria, stress, diet, hormonal influences, and medications, especially when one or more of these factors combine with a genetic predisposition.

The onset of an overactive immune system is often preceded by a bacterial or viral infection, but this does not mean that everyone who gets an infection will develop the condition. For this reason, there must be other factors or preconditions. Sometimes an antigen will have certain similarities to healthy tissue and the immune system confuses the two, or there may be a malfunction in the action of the white blood cells that produce antibodies.

The immune response produces a hypersensitivity reaction very similar to that which occurs in an allergy. The most commonly affected organs and tissues are red blood cells, blood vessels, connective tissues, endocrine glands, muscles, joints, and skin. Symptoms of an overactive immune system depend on the disease, but generally include dizziness, fatigue, and fever. Other consequences include anemia, thyroid conditions, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, and joint pain. The prognosis is good in some cases, especially when the condition has been diagnosed in the early stages, while in others it can be fatal.

Autoimmune diseases are not very common, but they are much more likely to occur in women than in men. For this reason, hormones are suspected to be one of the main causes, triggers, or factors in the onset or persistence of the condition. Treatment depends on whether the chosen course is conventional or alternative. Conventional medicine favors drugs like corticosteroids, which are anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive, meaning there could be some serious side effects. Alternative treatments include adaptogenic herbs like reishi mushrooms, American ginseng, and licorice.

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