Autoimmune vs. Immonudeficiency

Autoimmune conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) are the most difficult of medical conditions to explain. I was talking to someone about various conditions, and the subject of autoimmune conditions came up. Many people have autoimmune disorders, and they're almost always misunderstood as immunodeficiency disorders (AIDS, Hep, Leukemia, etc). One has nothing to do with the other.

An autoimmune disorder is one that causes the body's immune system to kick in at the wrong time and start attacking healthy cells and healthy organs instead of attacking harmful cells. In other words, it's always on, and it fights every part of you instead of just killing infections or bacteria. It can mistake your kidney or your heart or your liver or your gums or your hair follicles or something else as a "foreign object" and attack it. Your immune system will move in for the kill like it would do with a cold or virus.

Obviously, that's not good when the immune system tries to wipe out healthy organs. Oh, yes, it works! It's not deficient at all, but it's kicking your arse! Your immune system is overactive, and it can't seem to distinguish between killing a virus and killing you. The result of such a condition is that your muscles hurt, your head hurts, you're tired, and various organs fail at random times. Awesome, right? You might end up in the hospital because one of your major organs falls victim to an attack as your immune system tries to wipe out the "intruder." Yes, you could die if it's a major organ.

The other situation, the immunodeficiency situation, means that your immune system is weak. Therefore, you do not have the ability to fight off the common cold or any other viruses or bacteria. You could literally die because someone sneezed on you and spread his or her germs. You might end up in ICU from that whereas a healthy person would heal from it with no problem. Many AIDS sufferers die from conditions such as pneumonia because they cannot fight a little virus that attacks.

While both types of illnesses can ultimately take someone's life, they are different in nature, mechanics, and causes. Autoimmune diseases are not caused by the sufferer, and they cannot be spread from one person to another by contact, sex, sneezing, shaking hands, and the like. Some of them may be passed from mother to child in rare circumstances, however.

Some immunodeficiency disorders are caused by the sufferer's activities, but not all of them are. For instance, Leukemia doesn't come from needle drug use or poor sexual decisions, but AIDS sometimes does.

Those are some of the differences between the two types of conditions. AUTOimmune means that your immune system literally activates itself and kicks your own arse by mistake.

***I am not a doctor, and I do not claim ownership of any such conditions or knowledge of anyone who does. This is just an informational piece that explains the differences between the two classifications. Conduct your own research and speak to a medical professional if you want to learn more.***

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