The facts: Approximately two million Canadians are affected by an autoimmune disease currently. The autoimmune disease definition; a disease in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own tissues, leading to the deterioration and in some cases to the destruction of tissues. “Soo in my terms..Basically your body is beating the shit out of itself.. just cause”.
There are approximately 200 autoimmune diseases known to the medical world thus far.
Here are the top 5 autoimmune disease trends in Canada currently:
Lupus – “Mr. Lupus as I like to call him. First cousin to RA, the one cousin you don’t really like but are obligated to talk to at family functions”.
This autoimmune disorder attacks healthy organs and tissues, including the joints, skin, blood cells, lungs, heart, kidneys and brain. There are also several different forms of Mr. Lupus. 90% of people with lupus are female, and the disease typically starts between the ages of 15 and 40. Those females especially impacted include women of African, Caribbean, Asian and Aboriginal descent.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – “Ms. RA .. My invisible pet…who likes to follow me around all day, trying to get my attention with flares ups and other annoying attention seeking behaviors but no one else can see her so I’m labelled a hypochondriac or a bullshitter”.
In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the immune system attacks healthy joints and the surrounding tissue, leading to inflammation that causes pain, swelling and stiffness, and may limit mobility. Typically, people with RA experience ongoing symptoms, plus spikes of disease activity (“flares”) alternating with quieter periods. The disease causes progressive, permanent damage, especially in the hands and feet. It may also cause fatigue and affect other organs. According to The Arthritis Society, about one in 100 Canadians has RA. It most often affects people in middle age, though it can begin at any stage of life.
Most often diagnosed in young adults (ages 15 to 40), multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex, unpredictable and progressive neurological condition. It develops when the immune system attacks the nervous system, causing inflammation and damaging the myelin sheath that protects and envelops nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord or optic nerve. Canada has one of the world’s highest rates of MS. Women are three times as likely as men to develop the disease.
Crohn’s disease involves inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and may affect the large or small intestine, rectum or mouth. The causes of Crohn’s are not known, but factors may include genetics and environmental factors. It most often strikes people between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can start at any age.
With Sjögren’s (pronounced “SHOW-grens”), the immune system attacks the glands that make tears and saliva, eventually causing them to stop working. This causes dry eyes and mouth, which can be very uncomfortable and painful. Sjögren’s syndrome can occur on its own or as part of another autoimmune disorder, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma. It’s estimated that 430,000 Canadians live with Sjögren’s.
The causes for AD’s are unknown and there are no cures to date. The medical world of researchers speculate that genetics, environmental factors, processed food and STRESS are significant precipitating factors that contribute to AD’s. North America is the leader in its population of developing AD’s and this continues to rise.
Is it really all that surprising when you compare the North American society and life style to the lifestyle of Europe, for instance? “It isn’t really, is it?” …if you’re honest about the way North Americans have chosen to live and what they have chosen to prioritize in their life. North Americans are living to work whereas Europeans; they are working to live. That in itself is a big statement and another future blog.
The reality is AD’s are the 8th leading cause of death in women across North America. Heart Disease is the number one cause of death in women. In most autoimmune diseases, a year after being diagnosed; the risk of heart attack and stroke increases to 60%. “Sooo… that woman who died from a heart attack who may have had an underlying AD didn’t die from the AD per say but the AD may have caused it”.
“The fact remains… we are seeing a decrease in infectious decrease but a significant increase in autoimmune ones, now that’s something to ponder.”
photocredit\blenda from the web facts from websites; WebMD, www.lupuscanada.org, www.arthritis.ca, https://rheum.ca,www.healthlinkbc.ca, www.besthealthmag.ca, www.healthycanadians.gc.c