skin with vitiligo

Table of Contents

1. What is an Overactive Immune System?

2. Symptoms of Overactive Immune System

3. Causes of Overactive Immune System

4. Overactive Immune System Diagnosis & Treatment

5. Tips & Home Remedies

What is an Overactive Immune System?

If you are living with an overactive or hyperactive immune system, your body can't tell the difference between your healthy cells and harmful invaders. 

Your immune system guards your body from harmful bacteria, microbes, viruses, and any type of pathogen that try to cause injury. It acts as a border patrol and sends an army of cells to defend your body from harmful entities. However, people with autoimmune disease, the immune system thinks your skin, joints or other parts of the body are foreign and should be eliminated. 

The immune system is vital to health when it's functioning properly. When it gets overzealous, things can go very wrong. Problems with the immune system can be recognized as immune deficiency or autoimmune diseases. 

With immune deficiency, the immune system responds insufficiently in the presence of organisms that are harmful. An example is AIDS. While autoimmune diseases relapse or remit, immune deficiency stays, and may get worse over time.

There are many types of autoimmune disorders and approximately 80 percent are women who have been diagnosed with these conditions. 

An overactive immune system may react to harmless things like dust, foods, or pollen. For example, asthma is a condition that is associated with an overactive immune system. With asthma, an immune response can react with wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath through the lungs.

Eczema is a skin condition that makes your skin itch and is triggered by an allergen or environmental factors, chemicals or foods. Hay fever appears seasonally due to allergies. Both eczema and hay fever are accompanied by symptoms due to an overactive immune system.

overactive immune system infographic - Cleure

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune diseases occur when there is self-damage to tissues caused by faulty activation of the immune system. The immune system develops antibodies against the body's own tissues even when there are no harmful foreign stimulus there.

This may lead to organ failures or damage of tissues. Autoimmune diseases may affect the whole body, it can be a local disease or systemic.

The following are types of common autoimmune diseases:

  • Type 1 diabetes - With this type, the body mistakenly destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, which are the insulin-producing cells.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) - Inflammation results in different parts of the body because the immune system attacks healthy cells. The parts affected the most are joints in the hands, wrists and knees. RA is commonly seen between the ages of 45 and 60 years old. 
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is considered to be a chronic inflammatory type and is present in about 30 person of people who have been diagnosed with psoriasis. It can also affect people without psoriasis.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system including the brain, optic nerves and/or spinal cord. It results in damaging the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects the nerve cells. it slows or hampers messages between the brain and the body.
  • Systemic lupus erythmatosus (SLE) can be a mild to severe condition, including heart problems. 
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are two common forms of IBD.
  • Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency) affects the adrenal glands. This is a rare condition and affects men and women equally. Symptoms occur between ages 30 and 50 years old. 
  • Graves disease causes an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). 
  • Sjogren's syndrome causes problems with the salivary and tear glands resulting in dehydration and dryness.
  • Hashimoto's disease indicates an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It is estimated it's eight times more common in women than men. Damage occurs because the immune system attacks the thyroid preventing it from producing enough hormones.
  • Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine with the ingestion of gluten. The gluten triggers symptoms and impairs absorption of nutrients.
  • Vitiligo causes areas of skin to lose melanin (pigment), resulting in patches of lighter skin. With vitiligo, the affected person’s immune system attacks melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin).

Symptoms of an Overactive Immune System?

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

an x-ray of hands with severe rheumatoid arthritis
  • Pain in more than one joint
  • Stiffness in more than one joint
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue or weakness 

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:

  • Difficulty with walking
  • Problems with bladder control
  • Numbness or pain in the arms, legs, trunk or face
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness

Symptoms of lupus erythematosus include:

  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Severe fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Rash resembling butterfly on cheeks and nose
  • Anemia
  • Hair loss
  • Blood-clotting problems

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea

Symptoms of Addison's disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Depression/irritability
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dark skin patches around skin folds and joints

Symptoms of Graves disease include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Hypertension
  • Menstrual cycle changes

Symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome include:

  • Dry eyes 
  • Dry mouth
  • Dehydration in lungs, kidneys, digestive organs, nerves, blood vessels

Symptoms of Hashimoto's disease include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Depression
  • Thinning hair

Symptoms of of celiac disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash 

Causes of an Overactive Immune System and Autoimmune Disease

Genetics, environmental factors such as ultraviolet rays, and medication are some ways that autoimmunity is induced. If your immune system is constantly exposed to factors that may be extremes, it may weaken or damage the immune system. 

Autoimmune disease is caused by an overactive immune system that attacks normal cells when there is no harmful foreign organisms present.
Many factors can cause autoimmune disease, and the symptoms can diminish or get worse, they come and go over a lifetime. 

Diagnosis & Treatment of an Overactive Immune System

There is no easy journey to autoimmune disorders and overactive immune system diagnosis. Since there are various different yet similar symptoms, it is a challenge to diagnose. Your doctor will consider a thorough medical history, physical examination and lab tests to help with determination.

There are medications available to help alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of autoimmune and overactive immune conditions. 

It's important to pay attention to the signals your body gives you. There are triggers know that can worsen symptoms of autoimmune diseases or an overactive immune system.

Tips & Home Remedies for an Overactive Immune System

Although an overactive immune system is a challenge and symptoms can be difficult to deal with at times, there are things you can do to help manage it.

  • A healthy digestive system is crucial to not developing an autoimmune disease. If undigested food, microbes and toxins escape from a leaky gut, they will enter the blood stream causing inflammation that can trigger or worsen any autoimmune condition.

  • Remove inflammatory foods by eating a healthy diet. Trying a 30 days elimination diet has been suggested to help remove toxins. Add foods back in your diet one at a time after 30 days of eliminating them. Then check which ones you do fine with.

  • Remove and avoid toxins. The toxins may be in your environment, water, and food. Irritating ingredients in daily used products may also be a source of toxins. Your body absorbs what you put on it with skin care and cosmetics products, or the toothpaste you use in your mouth. Try the 30 day elimination with any toxins in your home or place of work, including personal care products such as skin care or shampoo.  It's important to learn which ingredients to avoid that are common irritants. Even you or your child's toothpaste ingredients may contain irritants that may be a challenge to the immune system.

  • Manage stress and balance your lifestyle. Stress is know to affect the immune system. Learn to know how to work and enjoy life and family without over burdening your immune system with emotional and mental toxins.

Recommended Products for an Overactive Immune System

Using daily products that contain irritating ingredients can put a burden on the immune system that may lead to trouble.

Cleure skin, hair, body, and oral care are recommended by dermatologists because they are formulated without ingredients listed to avoid by the American Contact Dermatitis society.

With daily use of Cleure products, your skin can be helped and soothed since they are void of common irritating ingredients.