What is Autoimmune Disease? and 15 Common Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases are a group of diseases that are triggered by the immune system attacking healthy body cells and tissues. These diseases can be triggered by various factors such as genetics, infections, and environmental factors. Treatment for autoimmune disease is mainly based on medications and lifestyle changes.
Autoimmune disease is a chronic condition that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue. This can lead to organ damage and organ failure.
Autoimmune diseases are increasing in the United States. The number of people affected by autoimmune diseases has increased by more than 50% since 1990.
What is an Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues. The most common autoimmune diseases are type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.
Autoimmune diseases are not just a medical issue; they can also have a significant impact on quality of life. This causes inflammation, which in turn leads to tissue damage or organ dysfunction.
These diseases can have a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain and muscle pain.
Why Does the Immune System Attack the Body?
The immune system is a defense mechanism that protects the body by identifying and destroying invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and other foreign objects.
The immune system is the body’s natural protection from infection by germs. It is a complex network of cells and organs in the body that work together to protect us from disease. It has two main functions: 1) To identify invading organisms and 2) To destroy them.
The immune system has four key components:
- T-cells: These are a type of lymphocyte.
- B Cells: These cells help to produce antibodies which attach to invading organisms and interfere with their growth or cause their death.
- Lymphocytes: These cells help to identify invading organisms and kill some of them. There are two main types of lymphocytes, T-Cells and B-Cells.
- The FACTOR: This is a protein on the surface that allows B-Cells to recognize the presence of specific invaders.
These cells help to identify invading organisms and kill some of them.
15 Common Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases are disorders in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues in the body. These diseases can be caused by genetics, infections, environmental factors and lifestyle choices.
There are 15 common autoimmune diseases:
1. Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a form of diabetes in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. In this condition, the body stops producing insulin, and it is not possible to live without insulin.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that can develop at any age, but usually in childhood and adolescence. People with type 1 diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose levels regularly by testing their blood sugar levels with a glucometer or finger-prick test.
People with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke because they are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels than people without the disease. People with type 1 diabetes may also experience kidney problems such as nephropathy (kidney damage)
2. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system, causing loss of motor and sensory functions. The most common symptom is vision loss and cognitive decline. MS can affect people in different ways, but it can also be progressive with worsening symptoms over time.
It is caused by an autoimmune response in which your body’s immune system attacks and destroys myelin, which covers nerve cells in your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
Multiple sclerosis can cause many problems for people with the disease. These problems can include vision loss, paralysis (weakness or numbness), fatigue (tiredness), memory loss, and depression.
3. Systemic lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the whole body. It usually starts with a rash but can also affect the joints and organs.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your own body tissue, causing inflammation throughout your body. The symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus are often similar to other diseases, so it can be difficult to diagnose.
Systemic lupus erythematosus affects both men and women equally and has no known cause or cure.
4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that can cause abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, weight loss and fatigue. It affects the gastrointestinal tract – the digestive system from the mouth to the anus. There are two types of IBD:
- Crohn’s disease and
- Ulcerative colitis.
The most common symptoms of IBD are abdominal pain and cramps that may be relieved with medication or by using a bowel regimen like a low-fiber diet or increased fluid intake. The diarrhea is often bloody due to inflammation in the stomach lining.
5. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects the joints and connective tissue. It is characterized by inflammation of the joints and swelling in the hands, feet, or face.
Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose because it often presents with different symptoms depending on which joint is affected. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that may help you identify if you or someone you know has RA.
If you think you might have RA, talk to your doctor about your concerns and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.
6. Graves Disease
Graves disease is an chronic autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism. Graves disease affects the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism and growth. The disorder can lead to a number of symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, and hair loss.
Graves disease typically starts with a fever, muscle weakness, and an enlarged thyroid that feels like it’s pressing on the trachea or esophagus. The condition can be treated with anti-thyroid medication or radioactive iodine therapy, but there is no cure for Graves disease.
7. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland. It is a condition that can be treated with medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery. It affects about 1 million Americans, and there are no known causes or cures for it.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a type of hypothyroidism which means your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones like thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, your body attacks itself by damaging cells in your thyroid gland so they can’t produce these hormones anymore.
8. Myasthenia Gravis
MG is a rare autoimmune disease in which antibodies attack the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement. The disease causes weakness of the muscles that control breathing and swallowing, leading to respiratory failure, slurred speech, drooping eyelids and death.
Myasthenia gravis is a type of neuromuscular disorder characterized by abnormal transmission of nerve impulses from one nerve cell to another due to antibodies attacking their target receptor on the receiving nerve cell. It is also called MG or MNG for short.
9. Autoimmune Vasculitis
Autoimmune vasculitis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. It can cause pain, swelling, and even permanent damage to the organs.
Autoimmune vasculitis is a chronic condition that can cause swelling, pain, and redness around the eyes, nose, cheeks, and tongue. It often affects the blood vessels in the brain but can also affect other areas of the body such as the kidneys and lungs.
10. Pernicious Anemia
Pernicious anemia is a type of anemia in which the red blood cells are destroyed by the body and replaced with white blood cells. It is a rare, inherited disorder that can be life-threatening. This condition becomes more common as people age and it affects about 1 in 500 people.
11. Sjogren’s syndrome
Sjogren’s Syndrome is a condition that affects the glands and moisture-producing glands in the body. There are also a variety of symptoms associated with this condition including dry mouth, dry eyes, chronic fatigue, joint pain and arthritis.
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that impacts both eyes and mouth. It also affects the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, skin, and kidneys.
The most common symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome is dry eyes which can lead to corneal ulceration or even blindness if not treated properly.
12. Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune skin condition that causes red, scaly patches to form on your skin. It is a disease where the immune system creates an overreaction to the cells of the outer layer of your skin, causing inflammation and irritation.
Psoriatic arthritis appears when psoriasis affects joints and surrounding tissue. It can be caused by many different factors including infection, trauma, or autoimmune disease.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are both types of autoimmune diseases which can affect people at any age but it’s most common in adults between 20-40 years old. There are no known cures for either condition but there are treatments that can help ease the symptoms like creams, ointments or oral medications like methotrexate and sulfasalazine.
13. Addison’s disease
Addison’s disease is a rare autoimmune disorder that affects the adrenal glands. It is an endocrine disorder that leads to a deficiency of cortisol and other hormones. The disease can be life-threatening if left untreated.
It has been estimated that there are around 40,000 cases in the United States alone, with approximately one million people worldwide living with the condition. It is caused by a lack of cortisol.
Addison’s disease symptoms can be divided into two categories: acute and chronic.
- Acute symptoms include weight loss, fatigue and body aches.
- Chronic symptoms include low blood pressure, low blood sugar levels, weakness, muscle wasting and osteoporosis.
14. Celiac disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to the body reacting to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When someone with celiac disease eats something containing gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of their small intestine. This can cause malabsorption of nutrients from food, weight loss or malnutrition.
Celiac disease affects about one percent of people worldwide and it has been increasing in recent years. Although there are many treatments available for celiac disease, they are often costly or require frequent doctor visits.
There are two types of Celiac disease:
- Type 1: Which is an autoimmune disorder in which gluten triggers a reaction in the body, and
- Type 2: which is a non-autoimmune condition triggered by environmental factors.
Celiac disease symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain/cramping, bloating, gas/flatulence/bloating after eating certain foods like breads or pasta.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes the thyroid gland to produce too little of the hormone thyroxine, which regulates the body’s metabolism.
This condition is most commonly seen in women and children but can also occur in men. The thyroid gland produces two hormones: thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Hypothyroidism is often mistaken for a lack of thyroid hormone because it can cause symptoms such as fatigue, dry skin, constipation, weight gain and hair loss.
Autoimmune disease symptoms
Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that result from the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues. The most common autoimmune disease is type 1 diabetes which has been increasing in prevalence since 1980.
The early symptoms of many autoimmune diseases are very similar, such as:
- Weight loss
- Achy muscles
- Swelling and redness
- Low grade fever
- Trouble concentrating
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Hair loss
- Skin rashes
Autoimmune diseases can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be similar to other conditions. The best way to know if you have an autoimmune disease is by seeing your doctor for a complete physical exam and blood tests.
Tests that Diagnose Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases are a group of conditions in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues and organs. They can be divided into two categories:
- The first category includes autoimmune diseases that are caused by an overactive immune system.
- The second includes autoimmune diseases that are caused as a result of an underactive immune system.
Tests that diagnose autoimmune diseases are a great way to detect these illnesses early on. If you have any of the following symptoms, it is best to get a test done: joint pain, fatigue, stomach pain, muscle aches, skin rash or redness, joint swelling or stiffness.
Autoimmune diseases can be detected with blood tests, but they may not always be accurate. That is why it is important to have other diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans to diagnose these conditions.
Some autoimmune diseases are more common than others. The most commonly diagnosed autoimmune disease is rheumatoid arthritis.
Doctors often use the antinuclear antibody test (ANA) test when symptoms suggest an autoimmune disease. A positive test means you may have one of these diseases, but it won’t confirm exactly which one you have or if you have one for sure.
How are autoimmune diseases treated?
Autoimmune disease treatment is dependent on the individual and their specific case. There are many treatments that can help manage these diseases, but there is no cure for them. Some treatments include medications, immunotherapy, surgery, or even stem cell transplantation.
An autoimmune disease treatment plan should be individualized to the person’s needs and concerns.
Autoimmune diseases can be treated with medications or surgery. Medications are often used to suppress the immune system and help prevent further damage from occurring. There are many different types of medications that can be used for autoimmune disease treatment, but some of the most common ones include: corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, and immunomodulating drugs.
Drugs used to treat these conditions include:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn)
- immune-suppressing drugs
In order to prevent autoimmune diseases from developing in the first place or to help fight them off once they’ve developed, it’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet and and getting regular exercise .
A diet for autoimmune disease is an important part of treatment. It should be low in sugar and processed foods, high in fiber, and include a variety of vegetables, whole grains, fruit, and healthy fats.
Diet is an important part of the treatment for autoimmune diseases. It can help reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent further complications.
There are many diet plans that can help with autoimmune diseases. These diets may include a low-fat diet, gluten-free diet, and vegan diet. However, this is not always possible for everyone. For example, people with a severe allergy to dairy products may be unable to follow a vegan diet.
There are many foods that can help with autoimmune disorders. These foods have anti-inflammatory properties and can be a great help in reducing the pain and inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases.
Some of the top foods for autoimmune diseases are:
- Sea vegetables: Seaweeds such as kelp, nori, wakame, hijiki, arame, and kombu contain compounds called saponins which have anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain antioxidants that can help protect against oxidative stress.
- Fruits: Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are high in antioxidants which help reduce inflammation. They also contain phenolic compounds which may inhibit inflammatory enzymes from being produced in the body.
- Vegetables: Some vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, and Brussels sprouts are high in β-carotene which is a type of carotenoid that can help reduce inflammation.
More than 80 autoimmune diseases exist. Often their symptoms overlap, making them hard to diagnose.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system is triggered by something in the body that it should not be reacting to – like an infection or a food allergen. The attack can then cause damage to multiple parts of the body, including organs, joints, skin, and nerves. The cause of autoimmune diseases is not always clear but there are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing one.
Women are more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases such as lupus and endometriosis. These conditions often run in family lines, so it’s important to make sure your girls aren’t carrying any genetic risk factors.
Blood tests that look for autoantibodies can help doctors diagnose these conditions. Treatments include medications to calm the overactive immune response and bring down inflammation in the body.
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