Organ-specific diseases

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Organ-specific diseases

Autoimmune organ–specific pathologies are diseases in which the immune system attacks a certain organ or tissue, causing a malfunction in its work.

The drug Prednisone has been approved by the FDA as a drug to help in the fight against allergic reactions and to reduce and suppress inflammatory reactions in the body and as immunosuppressive tools. At the moment, Prednisone is actively used in combination with other drugs in the treatment of cancer.

Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis

This is the most common autoimmune disease affecting only one organ; besides the mechanism of thyroid damage, it owes its name to a Japanese doctor who first described it in 1912. The same disease that struck the American supermodel Gigi Hadid: at the end of 2016, after constant negative comments, the authors of which proved that she was using drugs, referring to the constant weight changes of the model, Hadid revealed their cause on Twitter, putting an end to gossip. Autoimmune thyroiditis reduces the performance of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), which leads to a number of problems, including fatigue, depression and weight gain. The model said that she had been treated properly for several years, trying to “remove these symptoms”, which allowed her to proudly perform on the catwalks. The same disease also affected other celebrities: for example, actress Zoe Saldana, the performer of the role of Gamora from “Guardians of the Galaxy”, as well as the heroine of the films “Avengers” and “Star Trek” and the idol of youth, singer and actress Victoria Justice.

The presence of this pathology increases the risk of developing other forms of autoimmune or chronic inflammation by five times, in particular, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis or SLE. This also applies to other autoimmune diseases: they are associated with a similar scenario and require periodic monitoring and clinical monitoring in specialized centers that have at their disposal the necessary knowledge and programs for full-fledged patient care.

Type 1 diabetes

Only 3-5% of those who suffer from diabetes are affected by type 1 diabetes. It is much less common than diabetes, which is typical for the elderly and overweight people, that is, type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which our own immune system mistakenly attacks the beta cells of the pancreas, which produce insulin, the most important hormone in the metabolism of sugars (carbohydrates). Without insulin, the body’s tissues cannot use glucose for energy production, as a result of which its concentration in the blood increases (that is, hyperglycemia develops). The reason why the immune system attacks the pancreas is still unknown: numerous studies have put both hereditary and environmental factors under suspicion, such as nutrition, lifestyle, some viral infections, but have not come to accurate and scientifically sound final conclusions.


In Europe, as well as in the Middle East and Australia, the incidence of it is constantly growing (2-5% per year). In Italy, 84 new cases per million people are detected every year, the highest incidence is in Sardinia.

The ratio between men and women with type 1 diabetes is one of the rarest cases in which the male sex takes the first place: a recent assessment of all available studies carried out by a group of French scientists demonstrated that 80% of all published reports are dominated by men and that the ratio between the sexes is approximately 1:5. At the same time, diabetes Type 1 is a “family” disease: often affected people have relatives who also suffer from it, and for those whose parent, brother or sister have type 1 diabetes, the probability of developing the disease is about 6%. For those who do not have relatives with diabetes, the risk is slightly less than 0.5%. This suggests that the phenomenon of autoimmunity against pancreatic cells may have a genetic basis.

With type 1 diabetes, there is no treatment that leads the patient to complete recovery, immunosuppressive therapy is also ineffective, because by the time of diagnosis, the harm has already been done, and the only way to treat in this case is to take insulin with a dual purpose: to maintain normal (as far as possible) blood glucose levels and control symptoms – to avoid complications affecting the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves. More recently, advanced treatment methods, such as pancreatic cell transplantation, have shown encouraging results, but, unfortunately, immunological aggression is also directed against new (transplanted) tissues.

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