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Autoimmune Diseases

Author:Dr.Irena Mehandjiska Shumanska

You won't hear the word autoimmune very often, but around 100 different autoimmune diseases affect the population daily. What exactly the term "autoimmune" means? The immune system's usual task is to recognize all tissues and organs within your body as "self" and therefore not attack them. When foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, or fungi attack the body, your immune system should be able to identify them as "other" in order to fight them. In autoimmune diseases, your body's immune system confuses "self" and "other." Instead of protecting the body, the immune system produces cells and chemicals that attack your organs, tissues, and cells. Then, autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes, Hashimoto's disease, Psoriasis, Lupus, or Rheumatoid Arthritis appear.

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What are the most common autoimmune diseases?

The most common autoimmune diseases are Type 1 Diabetes, Hashimoto's disease(thyroid disease), Psoriasis, Lupus Erythematosus , Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Inflammatory bowel disease.

What is causing them?

The cause of autoimmune diseases is generally unknown. Still, some of them can be genetic (run in families), some of them can be triggered by different kinds of infections, and some can be triggered by various environmental factors. What are the usual infections or environmental factors that can trigger these diseases? The typical environmental factors that can trigger the onset of these diseases are chemicals, infections(different types), diet, gut dysbiosis, and enhanced gut permeability.

General symptoms are seen in every autoimmune disease


The symptoms of any autoimmune disease usually come and go.

In general, symptoms like fatigue, low-grade fever, muscle aches, joint pain, and rashes on different skin areas are seen in almost 80 types of autoimmune diseases. When the symptoms appear, the process in the body is known as a flare-up.


Diagnosis and Treatment of autoimmune diseases

The tests made for diagnosing autoimmune disease are usually tests for discovering proteins that are increased when the immune system attacks its cells and tissues. Those tests are the antinuclear antibody test, complete blood count, C-reactive protein, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. There are also additional tests depending on the symptoms of the autoimmune disease. For example, in Type 1 diabetes, are made tests to check the levels of sugar and lipids in blood and Hashimoto's disease are made tests that will show the thyroid hormone levels in the body.

The treatment depends on the type of the autoimmune disease and which organ or system is affected. Still, all autoimmune diseases have changed immune responses when the immune system attacks its cells, tissues, and organs. The treatment is sustained from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce the inflammation also glucocorticoids are given for the same reason. Other types of medications are anti-rheumatic drugs, vitamins, and hormones.

If you experience some of the mentioned symptoms and they last for some time, you need to consider seeing a doctor to get the correct diagnosis and proper treatment.


-"Autoimmune diseases fact sheet". Office on Women's Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 16 July 2012. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.

-Watson, Stephanie (March 26, 2019). "Autoimmune Diseases: Types, Symptoms, Causes and More". Healthline. Retrieved November 11, 2020

-National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Immunotoxicology (1992). Autoimmune Diseases. National Academies Press (US).

-Wang L, Wang FS, Gershwin ME (October 2015). "Human autoimmune diseases: a comprehensive update". Journal of Internal Medicine. 278 (4): 369–95. doi:10.1111/joim.12395. PMID 26212387. S2CID 24386085.