The immune system comprises specialised cells and chemicals that fight bacteria and viruses that cause infections. When a person's immune system mistakenly targets their body tissues, they develop an autoimmune illness.
Autoimmune diseases are broadly classified into two types: organ-specific and non-organ-specific. Organ-specific diseases affect one organ, whereas non-organ-specific disorders affect multiple organs or body systems.
There are around 80 different autoimmune disorders, varying from mild to severe, depending on which organ of the body is attacked and to what extent. Women are more vulnerable than men, especially when they reach reproductive age. Sex hormones are assumed to be at least partially responsible. The symptoms of autoimmune illnesses can be controlled, but there is usually no treatment.
Types of Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune disorders can affect almost any organ or system in the body. There are about 80 different types of autoimmune disorders. Some of the autoimmune disorders are
Symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases
The symptoms of autoimmune disease include:
- Muscle pain, joint pain or weakness
- Insomnia, weight loss, heat intolerance or rapid heartbeat
- Recurrent rashes or hives, sun sensitivity, and a butterfly-shaped rash over the nose and cheeks.
- Hair loss or white patches on the skin or inside the mouth
- Dry mouth, eyes or skin
- Tingling in the feet or hands and numbness
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Abdominal pain, blood or mucus in the stool, or diarrhoea
- Mouth ulcers
- Blood clots
- Multiple miscarriages
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor if you have symptoms of an autoimmune disease. You might need to visit a specialist, depending on your disease type.
- Rheumatologists for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren's syndrome and SLE.
- Gastroenterologists for GI disorders such as Celiac disease and Crohn's disease.
- Endocrinologists for conditions related to glands such as Graves' disease.
- Dermatologists for skin disorders such as psoriasis.
Experienced doctors at Medicover can help you get the right treatment and management for different autoimmune diseases and their symptoms.
Doctors are uncertain what causes the immune system to malfunction. However, some people are more likely than others to develop an autoimmune disease. Certain autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and lupus, are inherited. Not every family member will have the same disease, but they will inherit a vulnerability to an autoimmune disorder. Because the prevalence of autoimmune illnesses is increasing, scientists suspect that environmental factors such as infections and exposure to chemicals or solvents may be responsible.
Autoimmune disorders can affect anyone, but specific conditions induce the risk. The risk factors for the various types of autoimmune disorders vary. However, some common factors include
Certain autoimmune diseases run in families. A person may be born with genes predisposing them to a condition, but they may not acquire it until they are exposed to a combination of triggers.
Environmental factors, such as sunlight, certain chemicals, and viral or bacterial infections, can all impact the formation of autoimmune diseases
Due to hormonal factors, women are more likely to develop more autoimmune disorders than men, except for Ankylosis Spondylitis which is more common in men than women.
Autoimmune illnesses are more common throughout the reproductive years. Some diseases tend to be influenced by major hormonal changes such as pregnancy, delivery, and menopause, for better or worse.
Some disorders seem to be triggered or worsened by certain infections.
Autoimmune disease complications can be serious or even fatal. The severity of complications differ usually based on the type of autoimmune disease and the individual patient. Autoimmune disease complications can include:
- Bleeding and blood clots
- Joint and bone damage
- Other autoimmune disorders might develop.
- Infections that occur frequently, such as pneumonia and bronchitis
- Cardiovascular disease and blood vessel damage
- Neuropathy, paralysis, seizures, and stroke are all examples of nervous system problems.
- Organ damage and failures, such as liver and kidney failure
- Complications during pregnancy
Most autoimmune disorders cannot be diagnosed with a single test and a high degrees of suspicion is needed to correlate the symptoms. To diagnose patients, the doctor will use a combination of tests, a review of the symptoms, and a physical examination, especially if multiple organs or systems are affected. Methods of diagnosis may vary depending on the disease. They commonly include
- Physical examination
- Medical history
- Blood tests, including those to detect autoantibodies
- ANA Blot
Treatments can’t cure autoimmune diseases, but they can control the overactive immune response and bring down inflammation or at least reduce pain and inflammation. Drugs used to treat these conditions include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and pain
- Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. They are sometimes used to treat an acute flare of symptoms
- Pain-killing medication such as paracetamol and codeine
- Immunosuppressant drugs to inhibit the activity of the immune system
- Physical therapy to encourage mobility
- Treatment for the deficiency, for example, insulin injections in the case of diabetes
- Surgery to treat bowel blockage in the case of Crohn's disease
Do’s and Don’ts
Psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel Hashimoto's hypothyroidism appear to be unrelated at first glance. As they have different impacts on different parts of the body. But, however, they have one thing in common, they are all autoimmune disorders. The food you consume, the lifestyle you lead, and the way you respond and manage a condition have a significant impact on your overall health. If you have an autoimmune condition, following these do's and don'ts will help you manage it.
|Meet the respective specialist based on your symptoms
||Eat fatty and fried foods
|Take prescribed medicines regularly
||Follow fad diet plan
|Manage the stress levels
|Avoid taking other medicines without prescription
||Skip the doctor appointment
|Get adequate sleep and maintain a healthy lifestyle
||Eat artificial sweeteners and food colours
Autoimmune Disease Care at Medicover
At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted group of doctors and healthcare professionals who are skilled at providing the best medical treatment to patients while showing compassion and care. To conduct the necessary investigations for diagnosing Autoimmune Disease, our diagnostic department is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment. Our excellent team of specialists comprising Rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, dermatologists and other specialists uses a systematic and multi-disciplinary approach to identify and treat the condition. They provide treatments for this condition with great precision offering desirable results.