First Look At Autoimmune Disease

 

Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune Diseases

An autoimmune disease is a type of disorder in which the immune system of a human body mistakenly attacks healthy cells. The purpose of the immune system is to fight against bacteria and viruses. And in most cases, the immune system can distinguish between the own cell of the human body and foreign cell. 

But whenever the immune system makes a mistake and attacks the healthy cell of the body, it results in an Autoimmune disease. There are several types of autoimmune diseases; Some of the autoimmune diseases target only one organ of the body, and the examples of such autoimmune diseases are Type 1 diabetes, Systematic Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.

Why the immune system attacks the human body? 

Doctors are yet to find out the prime reason why the immune system attacks its cells. Some people are more likely to get autoimmune diseases than others. Several autoimmune diseases are common in a particular ethnic group. 

A family inherits a few autoimmune diseases. The number of people suffering from several types of autoimmune diseases is gradually increasing, and scientists believe that climate, temperature, etc. can also be responsible for autoimmune disease. 

Western diet may also be responsible for causing a particular type of autoimmune disease. Note that researchers don’t know the exact cause of autoimmune diseases, but they believe that several factors like diet, genetics, infection, exposure to chemicals, etc. are responsible. 

Types of autoimmune diseases

There are 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Listed below are the names of prevalent autoimmune disorders. 

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Systematic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Chronic Inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Psoriasis
  • Grave’s disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Vasculitis
  • Addison’s disease
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Autoimmune Myocarditis
  • Narcolepsy
  • Balo Disease
  • Castleman Disease
  • Cogan’s syndrome

What are the symptoms of autoimmune diseases? 

There are many autoimmune diseases, and the symptoms of each of them vary. But signs of most of the autoimmune diseases are similar at initial stages, which include achy muscles, fatigue, swelling and redness, trouble in concentrating, low-grade fever, numbness, hair loss, skin rash. But several autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes show different symptoms. 

The symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are weight loss, fatigue, extreme thirst, etc. IBD is another autoimmune disease whose symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, belly pain, etc. In Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis, the symptoms come and go. 

When should you see a doctor?

You must visit your doctor if you have the symptoms of an autoimmune disease. You would need to visit a specialist depending upon the type of autoimmune disease you are suffering from. 

If you notice the symptoms of RA, Sjogren’s syndrome, SLE, then you would have to visit a Rheumatologist. But if you are suffering from celiac or crown disease, then you would have to meet a Gastroenterologist. 

Plus, people who are suffering from autoimmune diseases like Grave’s disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, and Addison’s disease would see an Endocrinologist. The purpose of a dermatologist is to treat skin infections such as Psoriasis. 

Most common autoimmune diseases

Type 1 diabetes mellitus

You may know that the purpose of insulin is to regulate blood sugars in the human body, and the pancreas produces insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the immune mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which results in high blood sugar. And high blood sugar can cause several problems in the kidney, heart, eyes, blood vessels, and nerves. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is another autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the joints of the human body. This attack is responsible for redness, warmth, stiffness, soreness, etc. This type of Arthritis is quite like osteoarthritis, but it affects people of age group 30 or below, while osteoarthritis affects the elderly. 

Psoriasis

In Psoriasis, the skin cells multiply fast, and because of that, the extra cells form inflamed patches in the human skin. More than 30 percent of people who suffer from Psoriasis complain about joint pain, swelling, stiffness, etc. Note that Psoriasis is also popularly known as Psoriatic Arthritis. 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Myelin sheath is the protective covering of the nerve cell in CNS. In multiple sclerosis, this myelin sheath gets damaged. Because of the damage of myelin sheath, the speed of transmission of messages between the brain and spinal cord to other organs of the human body becomes slow, which results in several symptoms like numbness, weakness, difficulty in walking, balance issues, etc. 

Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Earlier, during the 1800s, doctors used to consider (SLE) as a skin disease because it produces skin rashes. But this autoimmune disease generally affects many vital organs like brain, heart, kidney, etc. The common symptoms of (SLE) are fatigue, rashes, and joint pain. 

Inflammatory Bowel disease

IBD causes inflammation in the lining of the intestinal wall. There are several types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and the most common among them are Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Crohn’s disease generally affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract of a human body. Ulcerative colitis can affect the large intestine. 

Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is another critical autoimmune disease that affects the Adrenal glands of the human body. An adrenal gland is known for producing cortisol, aldosterone, and other androgen hormones. The loss of aldosterone can lead to sodium loss in the blood vessels, and the failure of cortisol affects the way the body uses carbohydrates. The most common diseases of Addison’s disease are fatigue, weight loss, low blood sugar, weakness, etc. 

Grave’s disease

In Grave’s disease, the thyroid gland in the neck starts producing too much hormone. The purpose of the thyroid hormone is to regulate the energy usage of the human body, which is also known as metabolism. In Grave’s disease, excess of hormones gets produced, and excess of the hormone causes symptoms such as nervousness, fast heartbeat, weight loss, etc. Bulging eye, which is also known as exophthalmos, is the most common symptom of this disease. 


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

The production of thyroid hormone gets slow in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and deficiency of this hormone is recognized. The lack of thyroid hormone can cause symptoms like goiter, hair loss, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, etc. 

Myasthenia gravis

Nerve impulses help the brain in controlling the muscles. But in Myasthenia Gravis nerve impulse get affected, which means the signals can’t direct the muscles to contract. One of the most common symptoms of Myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness. Muscles that control eye movements and facial movements generally get affected. 

Vasculitis

Autoimmune vasculitis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks blood vessels. The attack on blood vessels results in inflammation, and because of inflammation, the arteries and veins allow less blood to flow through them. 

Pernicious Anemia

The proteins, known as intrinsic factors, are made by the lining of the stomach and are needed by the small intestine to absorb vitamin B12 from food. The deficiency of such protein causes pernicious Anemia. It is more common in older adults. 


Celiac disease

Gluten is a unique protein and is present in various foods such as wheat, rye, etc. People who have celiac disease can’t eat food that consists of gluten because when gluten is in the small intestine, the human immune system attacks GI, which causes inflammation. 

Takeaway

Autoimmune diseases are quite common in women, and they can be inherited from a family member. A woman also generally suffer from autoimmune diseases. There are nearly 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and their symptoms can overlap. 

Doctors use blood tests to diagnose the conditions of several autoimmune diseases. The primary treatment for autoimmune involves medication to relieve symptoms. The therapy would relieve symptoms like swelling, pain, rashes, and fatigue. If you eat a well-balanced diet and do exercises, then you might prevent yourself from autoimmune diseases.

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