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Autoimmune diseases, or autoimmune disorders, are the conditions, when the body’s immune system treats healthy cells and tissues as a danger, and attacks them. There are over 80 different types of autoimmune disorders, but the exact cause of them is presumably unknown. However, genetics and disease history in family are determining factors in most cases. Moreover, women are at higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases. This condition is even more threatening, when we take into consideration that there is no known prevention for most of the autoimmune disorders. The most common symptoms include fatigue, low grade fever, dizziness, joint pain and general discomfort.
Autoimmune disease characteristics
Each individual has immune system, which is responsible for organism protection. When working properly, immune system distinguish pathogens from healthy cells and tissues. Afterwards, this system is able to eradicate those pathogens, thus it protects human organism from obtaining a disease. The autoimmune disease reverse this arrangement, resulting in abnormal functioning of the immune system. It occurs, when the this system in unable to recognize pathogens. That is why autoantibodies produced by organism are attacking healthy tissues. An autoimmune disease may lead to permanent tissue damage and can attack several important organs.
Causes and symptoms related to autoimmune disorders
Specialists around the globe agree, that the exact cause of autoimmune diseases is currently unkown. They affect both women and men, but women are at greater risk. Nevertheless, there are few factors, which can lead to increased risk. For instance microorganisms (bacteria or virus) or some types of drugs are able to trigger the disease. What is more, people with family history are prone to autoimmune disorders.
Each type of autoimmune disorder is distinguished by different symptoms, but many have common hallmarks.
Common symptoms include:
- Low grade fever
- Joint Pain
- General discomfort
Most common autoimmune diseases
This disease can affect different parts of the human body, such as: red blood cells, joints, muscles, eyes, connective tissue, blood vessels, skin and brain. Furthermore, autoimmune disorder is often chronic and can attack several parts of the body at the same time. Although there are many types of autoimmune disorders, some of them occur more frequently.
- Celiac disease
- Graves disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Myasthenia gravis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type I diabetes
Diagnosis and treatment
In case of autoimmune diseases, establishing a proper diagnosis can take a lot of time, and in some cases, it may be discouraging for the patient. Many autoimmune disorders share exact symptoms, and some of them may be linked to other popular health issues. Accurate examinations will identify autoantibodies produced by organism, and determine the existence of the disease. Tests used for autoimmune disorder diagnosis include autoantibody test, complete blood count (CBC), C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and urinalysis.
Treatment will vary, depending on the type of the disease, and it’s severity. Popular treatment methods include:
- Relieving the symptoms such as pain, swelling or fatigue.
- Replacing essential substances, which can no longer be produced in suitable amount, like insuline, Vitamin B12 or thyroid hormone.
- Immunosuppressive medication, which helps to control the course of illness
- Blood transfusion