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Dangal actor Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise spurs efforts to raise awareness about autoimmune diseases: Doctors


Updated on: 26 February,2024 09:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Aakanksha Ahire |

The untimely demise of Dangal actress Suhani Bhatnagar due to dermatomyositis has sparked conversation on autoimmune diseases. We spoke to health experts who urge vigilance and share relevant insights about autoimmune and inflammatory conditions

Dangal actor Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise spurs efforts to raise awareness about autoimmune diseases: Doctors

Autoimmune diseases can affect any part of the body, from the skin to the joints to internal organs. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Key Highlights

  1. Suhani Bhatnagar suffered from dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease
  2. Anyone can develop this condition, but children aged five to 15 and adults aged 40 to 60 a
  3. Inflammatory diseases are a group of conditions characterised by body`s immune response

The news of Dangal’s child actress Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise at 19 left the world shocked and baffled. While we are yet to adjust to the news of young individuals succumbing to cardiac arrests, the unfortunate loss of this young actress has brought to light yet another health concern that requires our attention. 
As per the details issued to the media, Suhani suffered from dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease. When reading about the condition that led to this tragic incident, two terms were used quite often – autoimmune disease and inflammatory disease. We asked the concerned health experts what these terms mean, who all are at risk of such diseases, their health implications and the necessary treatments.  
What are autoimmune diseases?  
Dr Puneet Mashru, consultant-rheumatologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital elucidates, “Your immune system typically protects you from diseases and infections by creating specific cells to target foreign pathogens (organism that causes disease) when it detects their presence. Normally, your immune system can distinguish between foreign cells and your body's cells. However, in the case of autoimmune diseases, this process goes awry. Your immune system mistakenly identifies parts of your body, such as your joints or skin, as foreign invaders. Consequently, it releases proteins called auto-antibodies, which attack and damage healthy cells instead of protecting them.”  
Expanding on the same, Dr Rohini Samant, consultant rheumatologist, P. D Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mahim states, “This means that the body’s immune system which is meant to counter external elements like microorganisms /allergens has gone overboard and is attacking oneself. If untreated, this may lead to damage to vital organs like lungs, kidneys, heart or liver, eventually leading to death.”  

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