What are Autoimmune Disorders?
Our immune system is made up of multiple organs and cells that defend the body against viruses, bacteria, parasites, and cancerous cells. An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system unintentionally attacks your body rather than defending it. The exact reasons behind these immune system disorders are unknown but they can severely damage our organs, and tissues and even reverse the organ function.
Around a hundred autoimmune disorders are recognised today. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis are some of the common autoimmune diseases among several others. Autoimmune disease can impact different tissue types and almost every organ in your body leading to severe health complications.
Types of autoimmune diseases
Following are some of the most common autoimmune disease types
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Addison’s disease
- Graves’ Disease
Autoimmune disease symptoms
Each of the different types of autoimmune disease has its unique symptoms. Discomfort, exhaustion, rashes, nausea, migraines, and dizziness are some of the most common symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
Apart from these, autoimmune disease symptoms also include muscle pain, weakness, insomnia, hair loss, and mouth ulcers.
Autoimmune disease causes
Some ethnic groups are more likely to develop specific autoimmune illnesses. For instance, lupus affects white individuals less than it does African Americans and Hispanics.
Many autoimmune conditions, including lupus and multiple sclerosis, run in families. Although not every family member will necessarily have the same illness, they all have a propensity for autoimmune diseases. Medication side effects, smoking, exposure to toxins, infections, and family history of autoimmune diseases also lead to autoimmune diseases.
Diagnosis of autoimmune diseases
Healthcare professionals typically need more time to diagnose an autoimmune disease than they need to diagnose other disorders. This is because many autoimmune disorders share symptoms with other illnesses. Bring the following items to your appointment to assist your doctor in the diagnosis process:
- A thorough list of any symptoms you may have, along with how long you’ve had them.
- Family’s health history. Make a note of any autoimmune disease sufferers in your family.
Your doctor may do a few blood tests to look for autoimmune illnesses in addition to speaking with you about your symptoms. These tests include:
- Test for antinuclear antibodies (ANA).
- Complete blood count (CBC).
- Rate of erythrocyte sedimentation (ESR).
- Specific blood signs can also be an indicator of autoimmune diseases
Your main healthcare physician may refer you to a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist or a rheumatologist if they are unable to diagnose you.
How are autoimmune diseases treated?
Medication can moderate the hyperactive immune response and reduce inflammation. These conditions are treated with drugs, which include:
Immune-suppressing medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Naprosyn) are some of the commonly used treatment options for autoimmune disease treatment
Also, there are treatments for the symptoms of pain, swelling, exhaustion, and skin rashes which can bring relief to the patient. Making lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can also help the cause.