The complexity of the body

March 2, 2007 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

In reading about chronic hives over the past couple of weeks, I discovered that somewhere between 25-50% of all incidents are related to autoimmune responses. The body actually attacks itself. What baffled me was that I have a genetic immunodeficiency; how do I produce an unchecked immune response against myself if my body has a hard time suiting up against a bacterium?

The Primary Immunodeficiency Foundation  has produced a pamphlet that describes how this is possible. Essentially, the immune system is made up of multiple layers of defenses. I don’t produce any significant amounts of immunoglobulin (antibodies), but my immune system also consists of T-cells and B-cells that fight potentially dangerous invaders like bacteria and viruses. Apparently, these cells tend to proliferate when antibodies are in short supply. Some times, too many are produced and they can go a little haywire becoming sensitive to substances that they would normally ignore. In my case, it may be that my B and T cells may be attacking my skin cells. Autoimmune responses like this are not uncommon. Diseases such as MS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are all believed to be autoimmune responses.  When the body’s immune system is out of balance, it can overcompensate with the resources it has.

I may or may not have autoimmune hives (urticaria) but this example illustrates the complexity of the body. The search for answers to chronic, serious and idiopathic symptoms must always account for this complexity. Any symptom or set of symptoms can be the result of any number of competing or cooperating underlying causes. Symptoms may also be the result of biological processes that seem on the surface contradictory or logically unrelated to other diagnoses.

Recent studies have found that some autoimmune diseases may be the result of concurrent mutations in as many as 30 genes. Keep this in mind as you seek simple answers to your medical issues.  The idiopath is paved in shades of grey.


Entry filed under: Chronic Urticaria, Common Variable Immunodeficiency(CVID).

How you feel when you find out Using the Internet for Medical Research, Part 1

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