What is autoimmune disease?

Your body’s immune system protects you from diseases and infections, but, if you have an autoimmune disease your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake.

Thus, autoimmune disease are disorders of the immune system.

The immune system is in-charge of protecting the body from infection through a system of special cells and organs including white blood cells and antibodies.

Autoimmune disease is harmful because they confuse the immune system and the body becomes unable to distinguish between invaders (viruses and bacteria) and its own natural chemicals, causing the immune system to attack itself.

More than 75 percent of people with autoimmune disorders are female.

This leads to diseases running rampant throughout the body and the immune system destroying the tissues.

Autoimmune disorders can affect any part of the body including the joints skin and internal organs such as the kidneys or the brain.

Cause of autoimmune diseases

No one is sure what causes autoimmune diseases and it do tend to run in families.

The main cause of autoimmune disease are thought to be caused by a combination of genes and environmental factors such as infections and viral attacks, drugs or chemicals can also trigger such diseases.

Autoimmune disease symptoms

Symptoms of autoimmune disease vary in different people.

Often the first symptoms are fatigue muscle aches and a low fever.

The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation which can cause redness heat pain and swelling.

In some patients the disease causes the autoimmune system to attack their kidneys or brain while in other people it could be their blood or lungs.

The symptoms also vary depending on the type of autoimmune disorder.

This type of disease may manifest itself in one patient as weight loss or fever, while another patient may suffer as a rash or an inflammation of the skin.

As these symptoms may be due to other diseases, being able to recognize these patterns that typically show up in autoimmune disorders is key to correct diagnosis.

It is also important to examine the patient and his medical history closely.

List of autoimmune disease

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders/ diseases which include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematous or lupus (SLE), systemic sclerosis, type 1diabetes.

Some of the common autoimmune disease list are as follow;

Type 1 diabetes:

In type 1 diabetes mellitus, the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. So there is no production of insulin.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA):

Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is swelling of the joints it causes pain and warmth in the joints and although the cause is not fully known it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder symptoms include joint pain and swelling fatigue and stiffness.

Rheumatoid arthritis is typically symmetrical occurring joints on both sides of the body at once psoriasis is a skin disorder caused by an overreaction of the immune system.

This reaction causes inflammation and makes the skin flake off leading to scaly patches thought to be passed down genetically.

Symptoms of psoriasis include skin rashes joint pain peeling skin and even pitting of the nails. You may get more information about it here.

Celiac disease:

It is intended to protect so that disease is the name of a disease that causes problems digesting certain types of food particularly gluten, a protein found in many different foods.

Celiac disease causes the body to attack gluten and cause harm to the small intestine where the protein would normally be digested symptoms of this disease occur most commonly after eating something that contains gluten and include bloating weight loss fatigue and vomiting.

Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis:

Psoriasis has periods where it flares and periods of remission.

Some more severe cases of psoriasis may cover large portions of the body at once unlike many others in rashes however psoriasis not contagious.

Contact with an infected individual will not spread the disease.

Systemic lupus erythematous (SLE):

Lupus causes the body to attack itself instead of bacteria and the viruses leading to inflammation and swelling throughout the body and causing nearly chronic pain.

Symptoms of lupus include chronic fatigue skin rashes and joint pain as well as other issues involving the internal organs.

More severe symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, poor circulation hair loss and sensitivity to sunlight.

Multiple sclerosis:

This is due to damages of the protective myelin sheath which surrounds the nerve cells of central nervous system. Because of this symptoms like numbness, weakness, balance issues, and trouble walking takes place.

Inflammatory bowel disease:

This is a conditions which causes inflammation in the lining of the intestinal wall.

Depending on their location of GI tract they called Crohn’s disease (in this inflammation can be at any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus) or Ulcerative colitis (in this inflammation is only on the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum).

How are an autoimmune diseases treated?

Treatment for autoimmune disease depends on the disease symptoms but in most cases one important goal is to reduce inflammation.

Sometimes doctors prescribe corticosteroids or other drugs that reduce your immune response.

The sooner the autoimmune disorder is detected and brought to the attention of doctors the earlier it can be treated and the better it can be prevented or reversed.

Autoimmune disorders are treated with medications to suppress the patient’s overactive immune system.

These medications must be used with care because they can weaken the immune system and so increase the risk of infections in the patients.

Drugs used to treat these conditions include: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) & naproxen (Naprosyn) and Immunosuppressing drugs.

Patients with autoimmune disorders has to maintain a positive attitude.

It has been clearly shown from research that a positive attitude has a good impact on the outcome of their treatment.

One should understand more about their illness and how to cope with it. He can build a supportive network with family and friends who can provide assistance.

Importantly there is no need to be frightened as effective treatments are available for autoimmune disorders and most if not all patients can live normal healthy and productive live.

Some of the autoimmune response related with different organs

Autoimmune disease of thyroid:

If thyroid becomes inflamed it is known as thyroiditis.

Occasionally this happens because body makes antibodies that attack on thyroid by mistake. This condition is called autoimmune thyroiditis, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease.

Autoimmune disease of kidney:

Renal association in autoimmunity has many aspects. Glomerular, tubular and vascular structures are main target and got damaged as a consequence of autoimmune processes.

Autoimmune disease of liver:

Autoimmune disease of liver is well known as autoimmune hepatitis.

In this disease, body’s own immune system attacks on the liver and causes it to become inflamed.

There are three main groups of autoimmune liver disease i.e autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).

You may get more information here.

Autoimmune disease pregnancy:

An autoimmune disease may complicate pregnancy in many different ways.

A women who has autoimmune disease and subsequently become pregnant, pregnancy can induce enhancement of the mother’s disease, such as in rheumatoid arthritis, while worsening or having no effect on other autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematous. 

You may get more information here.

Autoimmune disease yoga:

Studies have shown that on a physical level, yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which reduces the body’s stress response.

Thus yoga may have an insightful effect on the immune system.

It has also been found that moderate exercise can suppress inflammation in the body, which is common in autoimmune diseases.

I hope this post might help you to understand some common facts about autoimmune disorders.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides a general information only. It is in no way a substitute for trained medical practitioner opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. We does not claim obligation for this information.

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