An autoimmune disease is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. One or more organ or tissue types can be affected including blood vessels, red blood cells, joints, muscles, connective tissue, skin, and endocrine glands, such as the thyroid or pancreas.
What causes the immune system to no longer tell the difference between healthy body tissues and antigens is unknown. One theory is that microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses, may trigger these changes, especially in individuals with a genetic predisposition to autoimmune disease.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a long-term autoimmune disorder. Unlike other autoimmune conditions, SLE attacks a wide variety of tissues, including the brain, kidneys, joints, the skin, and other organs.
Symptoms vary from person to person and often come and go, although almost everyone with SLE has joint pain and swelling. Some develop arthritis, and the most frequently affected joints are the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees. The most serious problem is lupus-induced kidney damage, which can cause death.
The most commonly used medications for treating SLE are steroids, chemotherapeutic drugs, and immunosuppressive medicines (Tassiulas & Boumpas, 2009). Many SLE sufferers claim that the traditional treatment for SLE is as harmful as the disease itself.
According to Joel Fuhrman, SLE can sometimes be completely reversed using fasting. In many cases, lupus patients have come to Fuhrman on drugs such as prednisone, which he weans them off slowly. In discussing the effectiveness of using fasting to treat lupus, Fuhrman said, “If a patient is treated early enough with this nondrug approach, drug-based treatment of lupus can usually be eliminated.”