My understanding of auto-immune diseases is that the very cells which are supposed to defend us from immunity and cell damage function improperly. Instead of directing themselves to deal with the invaders, they work on our own immunity and damage our own cells, kind of like cancer cells.
That's not all of it, but some of it, and a very basic, simple explanation.
Seaturtle did a nice job explaining auto immune disease. It is when our bodies attack us. In other words when our body detects something not normal, like bacteria or other antigens it goes on the attack to create antibodies and destroy the foreign invaders. For some unknown reason in people with auto immune disease our bodies detect normal cells and tissue as foreign and attacks them and creates autoantigens to fight them. For instance in some people their hair follicles are recognized as foreign invaders and the body attacks creating the autoimmune disease alopecia.
Right now fibromyalgia is not considered an auto immune disease, but a central nervous system disease. However Dr. Robert Lahita in his book Women and Auto Immune Disease believes it belongs in that field and will someday find its way there because of all the overlap symptoms.
Fibro as a diagnosis is in it's infancy and they put it in autoimmune disease because frankly they really don't know much more scientifically than they did when they gave it it's own diagnoisis code.(of course Fibro has been around forever just that science didn't recognize it as a separate disease process) All they know is what patients report but medical science has yet to discover much about this disease...probably because half the docs don't believe there is even such a disease. Now it pretty much has become a catch all for any symptom that can't be identified or explained...and that is not right either because some things will not be treated as a stand alone disease...instead docs and patients will simply assume it is a symptom of Fibro and not look into it. And most other specialities have no idea how Fibro affects their patients...like the dentist for example...their training didn't include that diagnosis. So pretty much it is all still up in the air.
chilyrabit, were you asking me where I got my info.? I have several books, the one I quoted is Dr. Robert Lahitas book Women and AutoImmune disease. I also have his book Lupus Q & A. I have Dr. Danial Wallace The Lupus Book and Dr. Wallace and Janice Brook Wallace book Fibromyalgia, an essential guide for patients and their families. It is approved by the NFA.
I have read a lot about AutoImmune disease because I have one or actually more than one. It runs in the family.
I hope I answered what you were asking, if not give me another chance. Sometimes I can be a little dense.....giggle!
I do not believe Fibro is autoimmune either. It's not attacking itself....it's HYPERSENSITIVE, that's very different.
I believe it starts in the brain, or spine and the signals do not get out to say DON'T HURT..........motor neurons. More like Muscular Dystrophy or MS....not autoimmune. I personally believe it's a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Mitochrondria Myopathy, and will eventually be proven to be so.
I also think some malfunction (such as in MS) happens in the fluid of the spinal since our substance P is higher than others and most have a mitochrondrial abnormalilty.
Our bodies do not know when to say NO. It's just on hyper, hyper, whatever all the time. Hyper contractions, hyper smells, hyper pain, hyper nerves.........hyper, hyper, hyper......sensitivity to everything and every part of our body.
We just need to learn to SAY NO.............
Last edited by Snickers60; 03-02-2009 at 08:00 AM.
I just want to update something I said in my previous post. This thought came to me early this morning before my brain really engaged with all the 'stuff' I have going on all day. Isn't it strange how when we are relaxed and not really concentrating on anything special, thoughts or conversations from days earlier will suddenly pop into your mind. I sometimes think, oh for heavens sake that is what they were talking about, or that is what they meant or wanted. Well, that is what happen this morning
I wanted to say that fibro was and sometimes still is thought of as a connective tissue disease which is an autoimmune disease. I have read however in the NFA magazine that research is beginning to lean toward fibro being a central nervous system disease, instead of a CTD.
Most of us have so many overlap problems, that in my opinion it doesn't matter what they call it, we are still in pain in several parts of our bodies. Yes, it would be nice to figure out what catagory to put us in so there could one day be a cure. For me calling it an AutoImmune disease works, since I have others I just lump them all together......giggle!
I wanted to add to this topic. No, fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease. In autoimmune disorders, the immune system attacks parts of the body. In fibromyalgia, irregularities in hormones, neurotransmitters (messengers in the brain) and enzymes (which are necessary for chemical reactions) are responsible for the symptoms associated with fibro.
Althought I do have lupus, which is an automimmune disease, the above information is not coming from my own knowledge of these things, but from information that is documented fact. I hope this makes things clearer for you SnowBunny. Take care.
I am not a medical doctor, I only speak from my own experience of the illnesses I discuss here.