What does Autoimmune Mean
Normally the immune system recognizes the tissues
in the body that are not "foreign" and does not attack them. Autoimmune
disorders are diseases caused by the body producing an immune response against
its own tissues. The cause of autoimmune diseases is unknown, but it appears
that there is a genetic predisposition to develop autoimmune disease in many
cases (i.e. they are passed down through families). In a few types of autoimmune
disease (such as rheumatic fever), a bacteria or virus triggers an immune
response, and the antibodies or T-cells attack normal cells because they have
some part of their structure that resembles a part of the infecting germ.
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