Autoimmune Disorders

Apr 08, 2020 Allergies


Autoimmune disorders are common than we think, yet, many of us are often unfamiliar with what an autoimmune disorder may be or what may be causing it. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake.

The blood cells in the body's immune system help protect against harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses, toxins, cancer cells, blood and tissue from outside the body. These harmful substances contain antigens and when your immune system senses these antigens in the body, it produces antibodies against these antigens that enable it to destroy these harmful substances and keep the body healthy and safe.

Unfortunately, when the immune system mistakes part of your body, like your joints or skin, as a harmful substance it also releases autoantibodies which end up attacking an otherwise healthy body.

Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ while other autoimmune disorders affect the whole body. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders.


The exact causes of autoimmune disorders are still unknown but some causes may be genetics, diet, infections and exposure to chemicals. One theory is that some microorganisms or drugs may trigger changes that confuse the immune system. This may happen more often in people who have genes that make them more prone to autoimmune disorders.

Common Autoimmune Disease Symptoms

Despite the varying types of autoimmune diseases, many autoimmune diseases share similar symptoms. In addition, the symptoms a person gets likely relates to multiple factors that include

genetics, environment, lifestyle and health. Common symptoms of autoimmune diseases include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Skin problems
  • Abdominal pain or digestive issues
  • Recurring fever
  • Swollen glands

An autoimmune disorder may result in:

  • The destruction of body tissue
  • Abnormal growth of an organ
  • Changes in organ function

Areas often affected by autoimmune disorders include:

  • Blood vessels
  • Connective tissues
  • Endocrine glands such as the thyroid or pancreas
  • Joints
  • Muscles
  • Red blood cells
  • Skin

A person may have more than one autoimmune disorder at the same time. Common autoimmune disorders include:

  • Multiple sclerosis- The immune system attacks nerve cells.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- The immune system produces antibodies that attach to the linings of joints. If untreated, it gradually causes permanent joint damage.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus- People with lupus develop autoimmune antibodies that can attach to tissues throughout the body and it is the joints, lungs, blood cells, nerves, and kidneys that are commonly affected.
  • Type I diabetes- Immune system antibodies attack and destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease- The immune system attacks the lining of the intestines. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the two major forms of IBD.
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome- The immune system attacks the nerves controlling muscles in the legs and sometimes the arms and upper body.
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy- Similar to Guillian-Barre, the immune system also attacks the nerves in CIDP, but symptoms last much longer.
  • Psoriasis- Overactive immune system blood cells called T-cells collect in the skin.
  • Graves' disease- The immune system produces antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to release excess amounts of thyroid hormone into the blood.
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis- Antibodies produced by the immune system attack the thyroid gland, slowly destroying the cells that produce thyroid hormone.
  • Myasthenia gravis- Antibodies bind to nerves and make them unable to stimulate muscles properly.
  • Vasculitis- The immune system attacks and damages blood vessels in this group of autoimmune diseases.
  • Psoriasis- A condition marked by thick, scaly patches of skin
  • Psoriatic arthritis- A type of arthritis affecting some people with psoriasis


Always discuss your health concerns with a medical professional.

It has been known that there is no true treatment to cure an auto-immune but treatment protocols can help to manage inflammation and relieve symptoms.

Complementary and/or alternative medical treatment may help you learn to listen to your body and make you aware of what triggers your disease.

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