March 27, 2019
Chances are, when you or your loved one were diagnosed with C3G, there were probably some terms you didn't recognize as the doctor tried to explain the condition. C3G is a complex disease that can be hard to understand, which only adds to the stress of receiving a diagnosis.
In an effort to make this disease easier to comprehend, WeC3G is taking the most complicated parts and breaking them down—starting with the complement system.
C3G is a disease that affects your kidneys, but the condition actually starts with your immune system, the part of your body that protects you from viruses and bacteria. This is where we find the complement system.
So, what is the complement system? It's a group of 3 pathways that work within your immune system to help your body fight off infections. These 3 pathways, known as the classical, lectin, and alternative pathways each have an individual role when it comes to keeping your body healthy and free from infection.
Here is one way to think about how your immune system works to fight off harmful invaders. The complement system is made up of various units that each help support the immune system in various ways. One of these is the alternative pathway. The alternative pathway acts as police patrol cars, always on duty policing your body for intruders.
The patrol cars monitor the streets for any sign of unusual activity just as the alternative pathway monitors for threats of bacteria or infection in our bodies. Because they are always on patrol, they can jump into action at a moment's notice. When there are signs of bad activity, multiple police cars can race to the scene to intervene. The alternative pathway can remove a threat on its own, or if necessary, can call for backup.
The classical and lectin pathways also help to fight off infection but are not on duty when the body is healthy. Instead, they can be called into action when needed. They are specially trained for different situations and when dispatched, work in conjunction with the alternative pathway.
Together, the 3 pathways that make up the complement system work to help keep your body healthy and free from infections. However, when 1 of these pathways isn't functioning properly, it can lead to problems.
Experts believe that loss of control and overactivity of the alternative pathway is what causes the chronic damage to the kidneys known as C3G. To learn more about what may be causing the alternative pathway to lose control, visit Understanding C3G, or register to download the WeC3G Toolkit.
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