Autoimmune disease, a common disease, occurs when there is an imbalance of the body’s immune system. Generally, the immune system is designed to protect the body from foreign substance. However, with autoimmune diseases, the immune system often attacks the healthy tissues instead of protecting them. Autoimmune diseases can affect many different parts of the body. They can also cause changes in organ function and abnormal organ growth.
Autoimmune diseases are not rare as everyone thinks. In fact, there are more than 50 million Americans suffering many types of autoimmune diseases. But, they know very little about them. In fact, autoimmune diseases have 80 different types. These have similar symptoms, which makes them very difficult to diagnose. And, there is no curative therapy for them. Treatment currently focuses on preventing complications and relieving symptoms. Thus, people should have knowledge to prevent and treat the conditions.
Causes and symptoms of autoimmune diseases
The causes of autoimmune diseases
The causes of autoimmune diseases are unknown. However, many experts believe the triggers for the autoimmune disease could be:
- Viral infection
- Certain drugs
- Chemical toxins
- Environmental pollutants
- Hereditary risk (but, it is completely rare)
The symptoms of autoimmune diseases
There are many different types of autoimmune diseases. Besides, they can affect many different parts of the body. So, the symptoms of autoimmune diseases are many and various. However, the common symptoms are:
- General malaise (feeling sick)
Moreover, autoimmune diseases can affect many important organs of the body. These are:
- Blood vessels
- Red blood cells
- Endocrine glands
- Connective tissue
If you experience those symptoms, you should go to see a doctor. A diagnosis for autoimmune diseases can be taken through:
- Autoantibody tests
- Complete blood count
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- Antinuclear antibody tests
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
5 most common autoimmune diseases
The following are 5 most common autoimmune diseases that you should know.
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)
Lupus is a condition that commonly appears with red, scaly and widespread rashes. The rash is like a butterfly or the facial markings of a wolf. Lupus can affect heart, skin, lungs, joints, kidneys, blood vessels and brain.
The lupus symptoms is similar to many other conditions. So, it is very difficult to diagnose. But, the common symptoms are:
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Fatigue and fever
- Joint pain
Lupus strikes mostly women, especially pregnant ones. And, women of color are more likely to get lupus. However, teenagers, children and men can develop lupus. Most people develop the disease between the ages of 15- 44.
Lupus is not contagious. You cannot “give” lupus to someone or “catch” lupus from someone. However, the condition can increase the risk of heart disease and bone problems. Depending on the symptoms, doctors can recommend medications and treatment. For example,
- Prescribed medicines: Corticosteroid, antimalarial medicine, Steroid- sparing medicine, Cyclosporine and Methotrexate.
- Vitamins: vitamin A, D, E, Calcium, Selenium and Zinc.
- Homeopathic medicines: Arsenicum, Calcarea, Rhus Toxicodendron, Ruta graveolens, Thuja occidentalis.
- Lupus supplements. For example, fish oil, turmeric, DHEA supplement and LupuFree. LupuFree is one of the best lupus supplements on the market right now. In fact, it can prevent the flares and promote the immune system balance.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammation that commonly occurs in women over 40. In particular, the condition causes damage in joints and surrounding tissues. For example, it can lead to pain and swelling in the feet and hands. Moreover, rheumatoid arthritis can sometimes affect skin, lungs, eyes and blood vessels. The treatment can help manage pain and limit joint damage and bone erosion.
Doctors may suggest medications, including:
- TNF- alpha inhibitors
- Disease-modifying anti- rheumatic medicines
Surgery is also an important treatment option when the joints have been damaged. In fact, a surgery can help fix the damaged tendons or replace the damaged parts of the joints.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects children under 16. The condition often causes pain, inflammation, or swelling in the joints. The symptoms can vary from moderate to severe. You can have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sudden stiffness in the joints and surrounding tissue
- A fever accompanied by pain
- Inflammation or painful swelling in one or more joint
- Redness and soreness of the joints
- Stiffness and pain after sleeping or sitting
In some cases, symptoms will decrease over time. Others can maintain into adulthood.
Treatment options for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are:
- Over the counter prescription medications
- Bone densitometry (Dexa scan)
- IV Infusion Services for arthritis.
Psoriatic Arthritis makes up 30 percent of the cases of psoriasis. In this condition, silvery scales and red patches often form on the skin. Psoriatic Arthritis can cause inflammation in the joints. It also increase production of skin cells.
The common symptoms of psoriasis are joint pain, stiffness and swelling of fingers or toes. Psoriasis can affect any parts of the body, such as the spine and fingertips.
Treatment for psoriatic arthritis are:
- Over the counter medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
- Disease-modifying anti- rheumatic drugs such as sulfasalazine, cyclosporine and methotrexate.
- Biologics such as etanercept and adalimumab.
Inflammatory Bowel Arthritis
Inflammatory bowel arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive tract. In particular, inflammatory bowel arthritis can cause inflammation, abdominal pain and intestinal damage. The condition consists of 2 separate forms: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis commonly occurs at the colon and large intestine. Whereas, Crohn’s disease can affect any parts of the digestive tract.
Treatment of inflammatory bowel arthritis are
- Anti- inflammatory drugs
- Immune system suppressors.
In conclusion, autoimmune diseases are serious. These are related to the immune system of the body. Prescribed medicines are compulsory for treating autoimmune diseases. Besides, you can take vitamins and supplements to strengthen the body’s immune system.