Tangerang (ANTARA) - Internal medicine specialist and consultant for allergy and immunology at the Siloam Lippo Village Tangerang Hospital, Steven Sumantri, stated that autoimmune diseases have increased after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The number of cases of autoimmune diseases throughout the world, including in Indonesia, has increased dramatically, especially after the pandemic, and often this is not realized, so detection is slow," he stated here on Thursday.

Autoimmune diseases are also on the rise, but since most people are unaware of this, the disease is included in the silent pandemic category.

Furthermore, he remarked that autoimmune diseases can develop in anyone, regardless of age or gender, although they are more commonly found in women of reproductive age.

Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, myasthenia gravis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and multiple sclerosis, are a complex group of ailments.

These diseases cause the immune system, which should protect the body from infection and disease, to instead attack healthy cells, as it mistakenly recognizes them as threats.

There are various causes of autoimmune disease, including genetic and environmental factors as well as people's lifestyles.

Environmental factors, such as pollution exposure in industrial areas, can contribute to autoimmune diseases.

People living in these areas may suffer from autoimmune diseases triggered by pollutants in air, water, and the environment.

"Like patients from the Cilegon area and industrial areas in Serang whose conditions I treat, they need more treatment," he revealed.

"Some common autoimmune symptoms to watch out for include weakness, chronic fatigue, muscle aches, mild fever, tingling, bumps all over the body, swelling in certain areas, hair loss, and reddish skin," he stated.

As a preventive step, he advised people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, such as by exercising regularly, getting sufficient rest, eating nutritious food, and increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables.

"It is a good idea to immediately consult a doctor if the condition recurs and persists for more than six weeks," he stated.

He noted that autoimmune treatment varies according to the type and level of impact of the disease.

"This can include anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, immunosuppressants, and biologic therapies," he said.

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Translator: Achmad Irfan, Katriana
Editor: Anton Santoso
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