A condition where your body’s natural immune system fights your normal cells is known as an autoimmune disease. In these conditions, your body produces autoantibodies, which are proteins that attack your healthy cells.
Typically, your immune system works to guard the body against foreign pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. On sensing any invaders, the body’s immune system releases antibodies and coordinates an immune response to fight the infection, resulting in inflammation and other symptoms of illness depending on where the pathogen is in the body.
In a normal situation, your immune system should be able to differentiate between foreign cells and your innate cells. With an autoimmune condition, your defense system mistakes some parts of your body, like parts of your skin or joints, as foreign. Autoimmune diseases might target your whole body or attack just one organ.
Common Autoimmune Conditions
- Psoriasis – A disorder that causes scaly, thick patches on your skin.
- Lupus – A disease that attacks one’s organs, skin, and joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – A type of arthritis that targets your joints.
- Thyroid diseases – Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism
- Psoriatic arthritis – An arthritis type that affects people with psoriasis.
Autoimmune disease symptoms might be mild in some people and severe in others as their severity depends on many factors. Additionally, the symptoms are likely to relate to several factors like environment, personal health, and genetics.
Autoimmune Disease Symptoms
Although there are several forms of autoimmune conditions, they tend to have similar symptoms. The common autoimmune disorder symptoms include:
- Digestive issues or abdominal pain
- Recurring fever
- Swelling and joint pain
- Swollen glands
- Skin problems
Many people say that it is hard to diagnose autoimmune disease, which is true. Generally, there’s no specific test for diagnosing an autoimmune condition. Usually, certain symptoms must be present together with explicit blood markers identified through a variety of tests.
The symptoms may originate from other conditions, thus making it more challenging to diagnose autoimmune disease. If suddenly you experience joint stiffness, fatigue, or develop a rash, make sure you visit your doctor or a dermatologist, who will examine the symptoms and run tests to either rule out or identify the autoimmune disorder.
Risk Factors Related To Autoimmune Disease
There is no known cause of autoimmune disease. However, some risk factors can increase your chances of having an autoimmune condition.
- Genetics: Certain genes can put you at greater risk for disorders like MS and lupus.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of having psoriatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Smoking: Researchers associate smoking with autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS, and hyperthyroidism.
- Medications: Some medications might cause lupus. However, before stopping or starting any medications, be sure to consult your doctor.
There are several available treatments to relieve autoimmune disease symptoms. Some regular exercises and a proper diet might make you feel better. Generally, medications that can bring down the overactive immune response and calm the inflammation are the primary autoimmune disease treatment plans.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to autoimmune disorders, be sure to see a doctor. Consider booking a consultation with the dermatologists at Trillium Creek Dermatology in Medina, Wooster, Brunswick, and Wadsworth, Ohio.