The Autoimmune Connection: A call for the medical world to see the bigger picture

Chronogram
December 1, 2013

Autoimmune disease is the biggest epidemic you’ve never heard of—and a wakeup call for our health-care system.

ILLUSTRATION BY ANNIE INTERNICOLA

ILLUSTRATION BY ANNIE INTERNICOLA

For an estimated 50 million Americans, there’s a war going on inside the body. As far as wars go, this one is senseless—even downright insane. Picture this: Suddenly, without warning, the Navy SEAL defense corps that is the human immune system goes on a metabolic rampage. White blood cells, like millions of tiny soldiers gone haywire, begin to infiltrate a chosen area—whether it’s the pancreas or liver, gastrointestinal tract or brain. Yet instead of going after a foreign intruder such as harmful bacteria, they are assaulting healthy, innocent body tissue. It’s as if these cells have collective amnesia and have forgotten the difference between “self” and “nonself.” The result is an insidious inflammatory response, a sickness where none existed before and where none ought to exist—and a disease that is often as hard to treat as it is to understand. Read article…