Autoimmune Disease: Causes, Signs, Types & Treatment

Autoimmune disease is a condition when your immune system unintentionally attacks your body. The immune system typically defends humans against diseases like bacteria and viruses. When it notices these outside invaders, it launches a massive army of fighter cells to combat them. However, your immune system is able to tell the difference between native cells and foreign invaders.

In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakenly views internal body elements like joints or skin as exterior. Proteins called antibodies are produced by the body and attack healthy cells. Immune system dysfunctions are characterized by unusually low or high immune system activity. Autoimmune disorders are caused by overactive immune systems, which cause the body to attack and destroy its own tissues. Immune deficiency conditions weaken the body’s defenses against invaders, increasing the risk of illness.

In response to an unidentified stimulus, the immune system may create antibodies that target the body’s own tissues rather than fight pathogens. An autoimmune disease specialist who specializes in treating autoimmune diseases can treat the ailment and halt its spread.

What are the causes of Autoimmune disease?

The autoimmune illnesses still lack a known cause. 

However, the following factors may contribute to autoimmunity:

  1. Infectious diseases
  2. Genetic factors
  3. Smoking, being overweight, eating a diet high in fat and sugar, and other lifestyle choices
  4. environmental elements include inadequate sunlight and chemical exposure

What are the Signs of Autoimmune disease?

The effects of an autoimmune disease vary from person to person. It is possible for two patients with the same autoimmune disease to present with completely distinct symptoms. This is why autoimmune illnesses can occasionally be difficult to diagnose and treat. The tissue, organ, or area of the body that your immune system is targeting determines the symptoms of an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disorder’s most prevalent symptom is inflammation, which can result in redness, swelling, and pain. 

Other typical warning signs and symptoms are:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Fever
  3. muscle pain
  4. aching and swollen joints
  5. Skin issues
  6. abdominal pain
  7. Food is difficult to digest

Autoimmune illnesses can cause mild to severe symptoms. These symptoms fluctuate in strength as they come and go. 

What are the Types of Autoimmune Diseases?

Autoimmune disorders come in more than 80 different varieties. Some of the most typical ones are listed below.

  • Diabetes: The hormone insulin is released by the pancreas to help control blood sugar levels. In this condition, the immune system targets and kills pancreatic cells that make insulin.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): In rheumatoid arthritis, the joints are attacked by the immune system. Joint stiffness, redness, discomfort, and warmth are some of the symptoms of this attack.
  • Psoriasis or Psoriatic Arthritis: Skin cells typically develop, then shed when they are no longer needed, unless they have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Skin cells multiply too quickly in psoriasis. As a result, the excess cells accumulate and develop on the skin as scales or plaques, which are red, scaly regions.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: The myelin sheath, the protective covering that encircles the nerve cells, is harmed by multiple sclerosis. Damage to the myelin sheath interferes with the brain and body’s ability to communicate.
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Despite being initially thought of as a skin condition due to the rash it causes, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) affects numerous organs, including the heart, brain, joints, and kidneys.

Treatment options for autoimmune diseases

While there are numerous autoimmune disease treatment options depending on the stage and kind of autoimmune disease, there are currently no known treatments for autoimmune disorders. The major goals of therapies for autoimmune illnesses are to reduce organ and tissue damage, alleviate symptoms, and maintain organ function. 

Options for treatment include:

  • Replacement of end-organ functions (such as thyroxine in autoimmune thyroid illness and insulin in diabetes)
  • NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Anti-inflammatory corticosteroid drugs, such as Prednisolone
  • Immune-suppressing drugs
  • Monoclonal therapeutics (like TNF inhibitors)
  • Replacement immunoglobulin treatment.

You can also check our post on: Understanding Blood Cancer & Treatment Options


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