Let's Talk About Autoimmune Disease...
The immune system is like a surveillance system. It constantly surveils (patrols) the human body looking for altered self (such as malignancy) and dangerous non-self (such as pathogens).
What exactly is altered self? These are mutated cells in our body.
What exactly is non-self? Anything that isn't YOU! Cells that are not part of your body, they don't carry your unique DNA.
There are two types of non-self: harmless and dangerous.
Harmless non-self would be things like food, pollen, and dander.
Dangerous non-self would be pathogens, as mentioned above.
The job of the immune system is to eliminate dangerous non-self as well as altered/mutated self, and ignore harmless non-self.
But what happens when the immune system does not function properly? What happens if you can't discriminate between self and non-self?
The immune system does not ignore the harmless foreign cells such as food and dander. Instead, it attacks. This results in allergic diseases.
The immune system cannot discriminate between self and non-self. This results in autoimmune diseases.
The immune system cannot recognize dangerous, non-self (malignant cells). This results in cancer.
In summary, although food allergy is an immune system "malfunction", it is not technically an autoimmune condition.
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