Hyderabad: Autoimmune disorders are a silent epidemic in the world, noted more in numbers than cancer and cardiovascular diseases. They are usually not diagnosed on time and are often found to be undertreated. Over a hundred autoimmune disorders have been identified so far, and with over seven hundred million individuals across the globe suffering, autoimmune disorders have plagued more than a tenth of the global population. More women than men have been diagnosed with such disorders.
Senior consultant physician Dr L. Sunandhini said that in India alone, a lot of people were reporting with rheumatism.
“Epidemiological studies have highlighted the disease as an important cause of mortality in developing countries. Mostly females in the age group of 30 to 50 years are found to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis, and more often than not, it takes a toll on them,” Dr Sunandhini said.
Studies have reported the onset of autoimmune disorders in women of reproductive age and hence it has become critical to diagnose such diseases on time. The exact cause of autoimmune disorders continues to be a mystery. The various theories hypothesised so far involve bacteria, virus, drugs, and toxins which trigger confusion in the immune system.
Consultant rheumatologist Dr Firdaus Fatima explained, “The immune system's attack on healthy body tissues is also found to be triggered by radiation, pollutants, chemicals, smoke, and viral infections. Other causative factors which have been identified in this regard include stress, diet, inadequate sleep, sedentary lifestyle, and substance abuse/addiction. The changing environment, food habits, and various lifestyle factors have also been found to contribute to triggering the attack.” While the research in India has so far been restricted to medical institutions, a substantial amount of research has been carried out on autoimmune diseases in China and Japan, and that should help find the key to the mystery soon enough, stated scientists.
Dr J. Anish Anand, Consultant, Internal Medicine, said, “A number of genes have been implicated in autoimmune disorders like HLA complex. The artificial correcting of genes in the laboratory is also considered as one of the possibilities.”
There has been a good number of cases reporting inflammation factors in the body. Dr Anand said, “Inflammation has been noted to contribute to diseases like asthma, allergy, glomerulonephritis, autoimmune disorders, and even heart diseases. Inflammatory diseases are being considered as the starting point of autoimmune disorders.”...