AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     14th February 2024        
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Context: In recent times several international celebrities have spoken up about their diagnosis and subsequent struggles with autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune Diseases

  • About: Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which your immune system mistakenly damages healthy cells in your body. Types include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and some thyroid conditions.
  • Target: Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. Type 1 diabetes damages your pancreas. Other conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, can affect your whole body.
  • Cause autoimmune disease: Some drugs may cause changes in your body that confuse your immune system.

oSome autoimmune diseases run in families, so you're at higher risk if your family has a history of them. 

oMicroorganisms like viruses and bacteria could set off changes that make your immune system attack itself. 

oSeveral factors can cause autoimmune disease such as environmental factors, genetics, hormonal imbalance, and lifestyle habits.

  • Symptoms: Fatigue, Fever, General ill feeling (malaise), Joint pain and Rash.
  • Most Common Autoimmune Diseases: Inflammatory bowel, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Lupus, Type 1 diabetes, etc.

Women are more affected:

  • A 2023 study by the University of Oxford stated that about 10% of the population they had studied had autoimmune diseases of which 13% were women and 7% were men.
  • Cause: As per a group of scientists have found a molecular coating that is found in half of the X chromosomes in women might be the reason behind this phenomenon.
  • Women and Men chromosome: Human females (and most mammals) contain two X chromosomes while the males of of the species contain one X and one Y chromosome. 
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