The body’s immune system is a formidable network that helps us fight off viruses, bacteria, and infection. Unfortunately, it can make mistakes that have long-lasting impacts. Autoimmune diseases are abnormal immune responses in which the immune cells begin to attack healthy cells in the body. While the direct causes for most autoimmune diseases are not known, there are several risk factors, including genetics and smoking, that can predispose someone toward developing such a condition. Many autoimmune conditions are “invisible disabilities,” meaning that you can appear healthy to others, who may unknowingly hold expectations around mobility, social interactions, or availability that are difficult to live up to. However, learning to live with compassion for a body that seems like it’s betrayed you is often the first step in living vibrantly with an autoimmune condition.
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