Greetings. Eric Bakker, the naturopath from New Zealand. Thanks for coming back. We’re going to do a series on autoimmune disease. I’ve had quite a few people asking me this particular condition now for some time. I’d like to talk about it. It’s an area I’ve got a big interest in. As you are aware of I’ve just retired from my clinical practice after 30 plus years. I’ve seen a lots of different case presentations of autoimmune disease. I’ve got a pretty good understanding of autoimmune disease, what it entitles, what I believe the causes are, and the effects and also different treatments and things like that. We’ll go into that.
But first, what the heck is autoimmune disease? You’ve probably heard of that word before. Autoimmune, what does it mean? It sounds really puzzling doesn’t it? Well, if you look at your immune system it’s basically designed to keep you alive. It stops really the onslaught of things like viruses, various pathogens, bacteria, yeast, fungi, different things from penetrating into the body and creating a problem. The immune system sets up that response.
There are two sides to the immune system, well two parts. You’ve got the front end and the back end. I may have explained this in a previous video. There’s the cell mediated response or the front end of the immune system. We would really call this the Marines or the hand to hand combat. Then we’ve got the guys up the back, the humoral response. H-U-M… I think H-U-M-O-R-A-L, humoral response. That’s the back end. These are white blood cells that are specialized. This is not hand to hand combat. These guys up the back can’t really see the enemy they’re fighting. They’ve created specialized chemicals in subsets of cells to help them. Now these are lymphocytes, B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes.
The front end are the neutrophils. These basically attack bacteria head on., A bit like the Marines can actually see the enemy they’re fighting. That’s the neutrophil hand to hand combat. But when that gets breached, of course the enemy goes through the humoral response have to pick up at the back end. If we look at the humoral response and the specialty kind of troops… If you look at a war, you’ve got guys in planes dropping bombs on people. You’ve got people shooting bombs at people that can’t see them, the rocket launches and stuff like that. That’s the humoral response. It’s a complicated system, front end, back end, but it works not unlike an Army. How an Army and how the Marines would work I guess in the Air Force and the Army would wait together. But that system can go astray horribly astray.
Now, in wars you can also create something called collateral damage where you’re shooting what you think is the enemy, but in fact you’re dropping bombs on your own guys. That’s a little bit like autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is when the immune system actually started turning on itself. Okay. Antibodies are created that start attacking or causing problems for specific parts of your body. There’s about, I think 75 or close to 80 known autoimmune diseases. Most are quite rare. You’ll probably knew that early on in your life. There’s probably about 15 or 20 of them I know reasonably well. However, what they believe… experts believe there’s another 30 or 40 that could be added to that category. We could be looking at over 100 different types of autoimmune diseases. They’re categorized into two major groups.
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You’ve got localized autoimmune disease and systemic. Localized, for example, being rheumatoid arthritis where it’s going to affect the joints, the small joints predominantly. Also, if we look at psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that affects the skin, that makes the skin cells shed too fast. You’re going to get this high proliferation of epidermis or skin cells building up and getting all this flakiness around the head and things like that. Others can be more systemic like systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE or lupus. All right. That can affect many different parts of the body, the skin, the kidneys. The heart can be affected. Often these things are quite vague to pick up.
Autoimmune diseases in many cases don’t get picked up for years. Women tend to have more of a problem with autoimmunity than men do. In fact, it’s two to one or even three to one in some cases. Women can be more prone, particularly between the ages of 15 to about 45 when the fertility is… They seem to be effected. Often conditions will start early on and build up. Then the woman will be diagnosed often several years later, which I find pretty poor, but that happens in many cases.
I’ve diagnosed several cases of autoimmune disease myself in my practice when the doctor had no idea what was going on with his patient. With all due credit to that medical doctor, the patient may have approached him or her in the early days when the symptoms are rather vague, but it surprises me how many doctors even get psoriasis and dermatitis mixed up, conditions like that. Anyone can make mistakes. Autoimmunity is when the immune system attacks your own body. All right? We’re going to talk in this series… We’ve got a whole lot of stuff we can talk about.
Who gets autoimmune disease? Why does some people get it? Why does it detect the body? What are common autoimmune diseases? Causes? Symptoms? We’re going to cover a whole lot of stuff. If you’ve got an autoimmune condition or you have a loved one or friend or relative, somebody you care about or anybody that has autoimmune disease, I’d encourage you to have a look at the entire series, to start from the first video and work your way through or you can watch it in any particular order, but you’ll learn lots of little things that you probably would not have heard anywhere else regarding autoimmunity. Why would that be so? Is it because I know different information? Well not really.
I’ve worked with patients now for over half of my life. I’ve worked with lots and lots of different people, thousands of people. You build up a sort of a knowledge bank over a period of time, particularly conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, Hashimotos’s thyroiditis. These are conditions I’m very familiar with. I’ll certainly be speaking a lot more about these conditions. Do hang around, if you got autoimmunity. Even if you haven’t, you’re going to get a lot out of this series.