Autoimmune Disease Overview:

If a person is suffering from autoimmune disease, the immune system will attack the body mistakenly. Autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body loses the protection from virus and bacteria. The immune system should protect the body from foreign elements. It should produce fighter cells to attack virus and bacteria. The immune system will be able to differentiate the difference between the body’s own cells and foreign cells. When you are affected by the condition, the immune system will mistake the parts of the body such as the skin and joints. By producing autoantibodies, the healthy cells will be attacked.

Causes of  Autoimmune disease:

-  There are different kinds of autoimmune diseases. Some diseases will target only one organ and other diseases will target multiple parts of the human body.

-  Type1 diabetes will target the pancreas

-  Lupus will affect the entire body.

-  The immune system’s misfire is not understood by doctors.

-  The prevalence of the autoimmune disease is more in some people than others.

-  The occurrence of autoimmune disease is on the rise. The environmental factors will increase the chance of infection. The exposure to chemicals and solvents should be avoided.

-  By consuming highly processed food items, the chances of inflammation will increase. In this process, the immune system will be set off. However, this assumption should be proved.

-  By offering vaccines and antiseptics to children, they are not being exposed to germs. If they were exposed to germs, they will build a natural defence system. As they are not exposed to germs, the immune system will overreact to harmful substances.

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Symptoms of  Autoimmune disease:

There are about 80 autoimmune diseases. Some of the common diseases and their symptoms are listed below:

- Type-1 diabetes – The immune system will destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The hormone insulin will be produced in the pancreas and it will regulate the blood sugar levels. If there are high blood sugar levels, there will be damage to blood vessels. There will be damage to various organs such as the kidneys, eyes, heart and nerves.

- Multiple sclerosis – The myelin sheath will be damaged by multiple sclerosis. The sheath is nothing but the protective coating that surrounds the nerve cells. There will be the impact on the transmission of messages between brain and body. The symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis include imbalance, numbness, weakness and difficulty to walk. About 50% of people suffering from multiple sclerosis will need help while walking.

- Rheumatoid arthritis – It is an immune disease in which the joints will be attacked. There will be redness or stiffness in the joints. Some people will experience soreness as well.

-   Psoriasis – the skin cells will grow as per the requirement and they will drop when they are no longer required. If a person is suffering from psoriasis, there will be a multiplication of skin cells at a rapid phase. There will be built-up of scaly patches or plaques on the skin.

- Addison’s disease – There will be an impact on the adrenal glands with the Addison’s disease. The production of hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone will diminish when a person is affected by the Addison’s disease.

- Inflammatory bowel disease – The condition that leads to the inflammation of the lining of the intestine is called inflammatory bowel disease. Various parts of the gastrointestinal parts will be affected by each type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). If there is Crohn’s disease, there will be inflammation of the GI tract. If a person is suffering from ulcerative colitis, the lining of the large intestine and rectum will be affected.

- Lupus – Lupus will affect the skin in the form of a rash. It will also affect various organs of the body including joints, kidneys, brain and heart. Symptoms of Lupus include joint pain, fatigue, and rash.

- Grave’s disease – The thyroid gland in the neck will be affected by the Grave’s disease. Hence, the production of hormones will increase. The energy usage in the body and metabolism will be affected by the thyroid hormone. If the production of thyroid hormone increases, there will be nervousness, heat intolerance, and weight loss. 50% of the people suffer from bulging of eyes due to Grave’s disease.

- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – The production of thyroid hormone will slow down through the Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The symptoms of the disease include dry eyes, joint pain and dry mouth.

- Vasculitis – The immune system will attack blood vessels and it will lead to vasculitis. If there is inflammation, it will narrow down the arteries and veins. There will be limited blood flow in this process.

- Celiac disease – People suffering from the celiac disease should eat gluten-free food. Gluten is a protein present in grain products such as wheat, rye and other products. If there is the presence of gluten in the intestine, it will attack the immune system and it will lead to inflammation. There are many people suffering from gluten sensitivity. However, similar kinds of symptoms are also found in people suffering from diabetes and abdominal pain.

The following are the common symptoms of the autoimmune disease:

The early symptoms include fatigue, achy muscles, swelling & redness, low-grade fever, hair loss and skin rashes.

You should visit the specialist based on the type of symptoms that you are suffering from. If you are suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome, you should consult Rheumatologist. If you are suffering from GI tract, such as celiac and Crohn’s disease, you should visit Gastroenterologist. If you are suffering from conditions of the glands, including Graves’ and Addison’s disease, you should consult an endocrinologist. If you are suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis, you should consult Dermatologist.

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Diagnosis of  Autoimmune disease:

-  Various kinds of tests are performed to figure out the disease. Combinations of tests are conducted and symptoms will be assessed to figure out the disease.

-  If a person is suffering from autoimmune disease, antinuclear antibody test (ANA) is the first test conducted by the doctor.

-  Based on the specific disease, the diagnosis differs from one patient to another patient.

-  If a person is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, it can be diagnosed after a physical examination. Blood test, X-ray, and other tests will be conducted as per the need. It is possible to figure out the type of arthritis and you can find the severity of the disease as well.

-  Some diseases will take many years to diagnose. As symptoms of the autoimmune disease will be similar to other kinds of diseases, it is difficult to differentiate the same. There is a possibility of misdiagnosis for conditions like lupus and celiac disease as these symptoms are similar to other conditions.

-  It is easy to diagnose Hashimoto’s disease and Grave’s disease as they can be diagnosed very easily. By conducting a thyroid test, the thyroid hormone levels can be traced. Other kinds of tests that are specific to the gland functionality will be conducted to figure out the issue.

Treatment of  Autoimmune disease:

-  The treatment is intended to control the overactive immune system. However, there will not be the cure to the autoimmune disease.

-  The treatment will help in bringing down the inflammation.

-  Various kinds of drugs are used to bring down the inflammation which includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Immuno-suppression drugs are also administered to bring down the condition.

-  There are various kinds of treatments to control the symptoms such as pain, swelling, skin rash and fatigue.

-  There will be a great relief from symptoms by taking a well-balanced diet and through the regular exercise.

-  Blood tests are conducted to figure out autoantibodies through which the diagnosis will be made easy.

-  By ordering a complete blood count, the measurement of white blood cells and red blood cells will be done in a very efficient manner. You should understand the fact that there will be a change in the number of white blood cells and the number of red blood cells when your immune system is fighting the infection.

-  If there is unusual inflammation in the body, other tests are recommended by doctors. In most of the patients, inflammation is the common symptom and it indicates the autoimmune disorder.

-  If a person is suffering from Addison’s disease, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) will be suggested.

-  With a gluten-free diet, you can manage the Celiac disease.

-  By undergoing the physical therapy as per the advice of the doctor, it is possible to overcome rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to physical therapy, the doctor will also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications.

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Prevention of  Autoimmune disease:

-  Symptoms such as fatigue, swelling, redness and muscle aches are signs of autoimmune disease. In most of the cases, the symptoms will appear and disappear on their own.

-  Autoimmune disease can affect anyone. However, there are certain factors which will increase the risk. You should be aware of the risk factors so that necessary precautions can be taken to overcome the same.

-  If you have a family history of autoimmune diseases, you are most likely to be affected by the autoimmune disease.

-  The risk in women is higher than among men. The immune system in women in strong and hormones will also play a greater role for risk in women.

-  The autoimmune disease will affect young adults and people in middle age.

-  The risk to native Americans to autoimmune disease is higher than the risk to people living in other parts such as Caucasians.

-  If a genetically predisposed person suffers from a virus or bacteria, the risk of autoimmune disease is very high. Even though the exact reason for this occurrence is not found, previous infections will have a profound impact on the immune system.

-  As soon as you find the symptoms of autoimmune disease, you should consult the physician. Even though the symptoms may not relate to the autoimmune disease, you should get medical attention at the earliest.

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Complications of  Autoimmune disease:

- Autoimmune disease is triggered by the changes in the immune system. There will be difficulty in the production of antibodies (the body’s natural defence mechanism) and it will lead to various kinds of complications.

- The people suffering from the autoimmune disease are susceptible to various kinds of diseases. Testing of specific antibodies should be done to figure out the disease.

- As the symptoms of the autoimmune disease will overlap with other kinds of diseases, the doctor should be able to distinguish the autoimmune disease symptoms from other diseases’ symptoms.

- Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease and the inflammation can affect various organs and parts of the body. There will be dryness in eyes and mouth if there is arthritis-related inflammation. If there is dryness of eyes, it will lead to corneal abrasion.

- If there is inflammation of white parts of the eye, it is referred to as scleritis and it can affect the eye in a dangerous manner.

- There will be a pain in the chest if there is rheumatoid inflammation. The pain will increase due to deep breathing, coughing and shortness of breath.

Myths of  Autoimmune disease:

1. Autoimmune disease is common in men

The Autoimmune disease is common in both men and women. However, women are more susceptible to autoimmune disease than men. Often, it will run in families.

2. It is easy to diagnose autoimmune disease

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Hence, it is very difficult to diagnose the disease. The symptoms will overlap and the doctor will prescribe a combination of tests to figure out the issue.

Conclusion

If a person is suffering from immune disorders, there will be a low activity or hyperactivity of the immune system. If there is excess activity, there will be damage to the useful tissue of the body. The immune deficiency will decrease the body’s natural ability to fight invaders and the person is vulnerable to various kinds of infections. There are several kinds of autoimmune diseases and different kinds of treatment options are exercised to overcome the condition. Medication is the main treatment to overcome the autoimmune disease. The overactive immune response will be brought down by the treatment. There will be a great relief from symptoms after initiating the treatment.

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Last updated on : 29-10-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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