The immune system consists of a defense system that guards the body against invasion from infections and other diseases. Normally, a healthy person's immune system has the capability to differentiate between its own cells and cells that represent threats to the health of the body. (Craft and Kanter, 2002). Autoimmune disease refers to a broad range of over 80 acute, long-lasting diseases that affect nearly every organ in the body. (Wrong Diagnosis.com, 2000).
With autoimmune diseases, the underlying issue is similar. The body's immune system becomes unable to recognize healthy cells from diseased cells. Consequently, the immune’s own defense mechanism produces antibodies that attack the normal tissues and cells. Autoimmune diseases can also affect connective tissue, including affecting the nervous system, muscles, endocrine system, and gastrointestinal system. (Wrong Diagnosis.com, 2000).
Likewise, autoimmune diseases are not communicable and cannot be transmitted to other individuals. Currently, there are around fifty million Americans who are suffering from autoimmune diseases in the U.S. Moreover, autoimmune diseases appear to be more prevalent among women than with men. Although it is not race specific, the disease is more common among middle-aged and older individuals. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia in children is rather unusual. It is estimated that about 1 in 80,000 children in the United States has autoimmune hemolytic anemia. As with adults, autoimmune hemolytic anemia is not race specific and can affect children of any race or nationality. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia can also affect infants, particularly after an infection, and throughout childhood. Teenagers, who have autoimmune hemolytic anemia, are more likely to have an underlying systemic illness. (Franz, 2006, Laberge, Davidson, 2007, Schwartz, 2007, Dugdale, 2009).
For children suffering from autoimmune hemolytic anemia, therapy and treatment will be based upon the child’s age, the general health of the child, and the child’s medical record. Treatment will also depend on the extent of the anemia, the cause of the anemia, and the child's tolerance for certain medications, and potential course of the anemia. The treatment for children with autoimmune hemolytic anemia may consist of blood transfusions, corticosteroid medications, and possible surgical removal of the spleen, for children who do not respond to other treatments.
What causes the immune system to malfunction is unknown. Therefore, there is no reliable way to prevent developing an autoimmune disease. There is a possibility that hormones may play a part in stimulating autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases may even have an inherited element because a good number of autoimmune diseases likely run in families. This means that a person is seemingly likely to develop the disease if that person has a close relative with that disease. For a few autoimmune diseases, this familial possibility remains small....