Your Immune System, Autoimmune Diseases and Coronavirus


Do you wonder why you constantly hear that you need to boost your immune system, especially during this coronavirus crisis? It’s critical for everyone to have the strongest immunity possible because your body’s immune system (it runs throughout your entire body) protects you from pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and infections. Eating healthy food that include large amounts of fruits and vegetables, getting a good night’s rest (7-8 hours), maintaining a healthy weight, don’t smoke, drink alcohol in moderation (or not at all), frequent hand washing, and exercise can keep your immune system strong.

Even though our survival depends on our immune system, there are nearly 24 million Americans whose immune system is attacking them. They have an autoimmune disease (ADs) which is when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, tissue, and organs. Autoimmune diseases can attack almost any part of your body and some may affect more than one part of the body. They are in a group of more than 80 chronic illnesses. The cause of autoimmune diseases is not known and there are no cures, but some are treated with immunosuppressive medication and corticosteroids which helps to reduce the immune system’s hyperactivity. Research shows that race, genetics and environmental factors are thought to play a role in the development of some autoimmune diseases.

For reasons unknown, more women develop autoimmune diseases than men, and African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American women are at a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases.

These diseases are the leading causes of death in women under 65 years. In women, it is believed that hormones may play a role in them acquiring ADs at a higher rate than men.