Some Common Autoimmune Diseases

An autoimmune disease is a condition arising from an abnormal immune response to a normal body part. On this condition your immune system mistakenly attacks your body, the immune system mistakes part of your body like your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases proteins called auto-antibodies that attack healthy cells.

This article is a continuation of my previous post named 'Facts about Autoimmune disease', on that post I explained in and out about this disease including symptoms, signs, causes and it's treatments. To read that post CLICK HERE.

Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ like Type 1 diabetes which damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), affect the whole body. There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases. The following are 15 of the most commons;

1. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Refer to the conditions that cause inflammation in the lining of the intestinal wall. Each type of IBD affects a different part of the Gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). IBD is an umbrella term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of your digestive tract. Types of IBD include Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease

Ulcerative colitis. This condition causes long-lasting inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum (any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus)

Crohn's disease. This type of IBD is characterized by inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which often spreads deep into affected tissues (only the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum)

2. Addisons disease
It affects the adrenal glands, which produce the hormones cortisol and aldosterone as well as androgen hormones. Having too little of cortisol can affect the way the body uses and stores carbohydrates and sugar (glucose). Deficiency of aldosterone will lead to sodium loss and excess potassium in the bloodstream. It's symptoms include weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and low blood sugar.

3. Graves disease
It attacks the thyroid gland in the neck, causing it to produce too much of its hormones. Thyroid hormones control the bodys energy usage, known as metabolism. Having too much of these hormones revs up your bodys activities, causing symptoms like nervousness, a fast heartbeat, heat intolerance, and weight loss. The most common symptom is bulging eyes which also called exophthalmos.

4. Sjögrens syndrome
This condition attacks the glands that provide lubrication to the eyes and mouth. The hallmark symptoms of Sjögrens syndrome are dry eyes and dry mouth, but it may also affect the joints or skin. On this condition the body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells that produce saliva and tears. Sjögren's syndrome often occurs with other such disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

5. Hashimotos thyroiditis
It is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or Hashimoto's disease, Occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland in the neck, initially, inflammation of the thyroid causes a leak resulting in excess thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Over time, the inflammation prevents the thyroid from producing enough hormones (hypothyroidism), meaning that thyroid hormone production slows to a deficiency. Symptoms include weight gain, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, hair loss, and swelling of the thyroid (goiter).

6. Myasthenia gravis
It affects nerve impulses that help the brain control the muscles. When the communication from nerves to muscles is impaired, signals cant direct the muscles to contract.

The most common symptom is muscle weakness that gets worse with activity and improves with rest. Often muscles that control eye movements, eyelid opening, swallowing, and facial movements are involved.

7. Vasculitis
Autoimmune vasculitis or 'Vasculitis' happens when the immune system attacks blood vessels. The inflammation that cause narrowing of the arteries and veins, allowing less blood to flow through them.

It means that, the inflammation of the blood vessels cause changes in the blood vessel walls as a result vessel walls thicken and narrow, cutting off vital blood supply to tissues and organs.

8. Pernicious anemia
This condition causes deficiency of a protein, made by stomach lining cells, known as intrinsic factor that is needed in order for the small intestine to absorb vitamin B-12 from food. Without enough of this vitamin, one will develop an anemia because of decreasing amount of red blood cells when the body can't absorb enough vitamin B12. Common causes include a weakened stomach lining or an auto-immune condition. Also this condition cause the reduction of the bodys ability to synthesize DNA.

Pernicious anemia is more common in older adults. According to a 2012 study, it affects 0.1 percent of people in general, but nearly 2 percent of people over age 60.

9. Celiac disease
An immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and other grain products. People with celiac disease cant eat foods containing gluten. When gluten is in the small intestine, the immune system attacks this part of the gastrointestinal tract and causes inflammation.

Over time, the immune reaction to eating gluten creates inflammation that damages the small intestine's lining, leading to medical complications. It also prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption).

10. Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata is a an autoimmune disease that often results in unpredictable hair loss, hair falls out in small patches around the size of a quarter. For most people, the hair loss is nothing more than a few patches, though in some cases it can be more extreme.

Also the disease can lead to the complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or, can affect the entire body (alopecia universalis). The condition can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, though most cases occur before the age of 30. To know much more about Alopecia areata disease CLICK HERE.

11. Type 1 diabetes
Occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

High blood sugar results can lead to damage in the blood vessels, as well as organs like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

12. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Occurs when the immune system attacks the joints. This attack causes redness, warmth, soreness, and stiffness in the joints. Unlike osteoarthritis, which commonly affects people as they get older, RA can start as early as your 30s or sooner.

13. Psoriasis / psoriatic arthritis
Psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply too quickly. The extra cells build up and form inflamed red patches, commonly with silver-white scales of plaque on the skin. Skin cells normally grow and then shed when theyre no longer needed.

Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop swelling, stiffness, and pain in their joints. This form of the disease is called psoriatic arthritis.

14. Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) damages the myelin sheath, the protective coating that surrounds nerve cells, in your central nervous system. Damage to the myelin sheath slows the transmission speed of messages between your brain and spinal cord to and from the rest of your body.

This damage can lead to symptoms like numbness, weakness, balance issues, and trouble walking. The disease comes in several forms that progress at different rates.

15. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in connective tissues, such as cartilage and the lining of blood vessels, which provide strength and flexibility to structures throughout the body.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), also known simply as 'lupus', is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in many parts of the body. Previous 'lupus' was described as a skin disease because of the rash it commonly produces, the systemic form, which is most the common, actually affects many organs, including the joints, kidneys, brain, and heart. Symptoms vary between people and may be mild to severe, which include Joint pain, fatigue, and rashes.

There are at least 80 different autoimmune diseases known, the above diseases are just few and most of them can be treated, unfortunately, there is no known prevention for most autoimmune diseases, and this includes type 1 diabetes. On my previous article named 'Facts about autoimmune diseases' I explained deeply about these diseases including Causes, symptoms, signs and treatments. To read that article CLICKHERE.

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Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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