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An autoimmune disease is a medical condition wherein your body attacks itself by mistake. It can affect many different parts of your body, causing symptoms that vary widely.

It is a disease where your immune system mistakenly identifies healthy tissue as foreign and attacks it. This attack can cause inflammation and damage to the affected organ.

Autoimmune disorders can affect any part of your body, but some common ones include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis and vitiligo.

There are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases, with some affecting only one part of your body (such as rheumatoid arthritis) while others affect multiple organs (like lupus).

A number of symptoms can indicate an autoimmune disease. These include fatigue, joint pain, muscle weakness, skin rash, hair loss, weight gain and digestive issues. If you notice these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

There are several treatment options available for people who suffer from autoimmune disorders. However, there is no cure for any autoimmune condition. In addition, some treatments may cause side effects.

You can lower your risk of the disease by lifestyle changes that include regular exercise and healthy habits.


Common Autoimmune Diseases

There are a number of autoimmune diseases that are relatively common.

Some of the more well-known autoimmune diseases include:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

While the exact causes of autoimmune diseases are not always known, they are believed to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Treatment for autoimmune diseases often focuses on managing symptoms and preventing flares.


Symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases

There are a number of different autoimmune diseases, each with its own set of symptoms.

However, there are some common symptoms that are associated with autoimmune disorders in general. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Skin rashes
  • Stomach problems
  • Swollen glands

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor so that he can rule out other possible causes and properly diagnose your condition.

Autoimmune diseases can be difficult to manage, but with proper treatment, you may be able to lead a normal, healthy life.


Causes of Autoimmune Diseases

There are many autoimmune diseases, each with their own underlying causes.

In fewer cases, it may be due to genetics. In other cases, it may be the result of an infection or exposure to certain environmental factors. Still in other cases, the cause may be unknown.

However, there are some risk factors that have been linked to the development of autoimmune diseases. These include:

  • Gender (women are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases than men)
  • Age (autoimmune diseases are more common in young adults and middle-aged adults)
  • Family history (autoimmune diseases tend to run in families)
  • Certain medical conditions (such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis)

While the exact cause of autoimmune disorders remains unknown, understanding these risk factors can help your doctor better diagnose and treat you.


Diagnosis

Autoimmune disease is fairly difficult to diagnose.

Your doctor will typically look at a combination of symptoms, lab tests and imaging studies to make a diagnosis.

Blood tests are often used to look for markers of inflammation, such as high levels of certain immune system proteins.

Imaging studies, such as MRIs, can sometimes be helpful in diagnosing autoimmune diseases by showing inflammation in the body.

However, the most important factor in making a diagnosis is usually the presence of certain symptoms. For example, someone with rheumatoid arthritis will typically have joint pain and swelling, while someone with lupus may have a rash and fatigue.

If you think you may have an autoimmune disease, it is important to see your doctor so that you can get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.


Treatment

There is no one common approach to treating your autoimmune disease. The most effective treatment plan will vary depending on you and your specific disease.

However, there are some general principles that can be followed when developing a treatment plan for you. First, it is important to identify what causes the disease.

This can often be done through blood tests and other medical evaluations. Once the cause is known, it is important to treat the underlying problem.

For example, if the disease is caused by an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.

If the cause is unknown or cannot be treated, the focus of treatment will be on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life.

There are a number of different medications that can be used to achieve these goals, and the best approach will vary depending on your condition.

In some cases, it may be necessary to try a few different medications before finding one that is effective.


Prevention

There is no surefire way to prevent autoimmune diseases, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk.

  • First, eat a healthy diet and avoid processed foods
  • Second, get regular exercise and stay active 
  • Third, manage stress levels
  • Fourth, sleep properly and rest
  • Fifth, avoid toxins and environmental pollutants
  • Sixth, take steps to boost your immune system
  • Seventh, see your doctor regularly for checkups and screenings

By following these steps, you can lower your risk of developing an autoimmune disorder.


 

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