Your body's immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune diseases can affect many parts of the body.

No one is sure what causes autoimmune diseases. They do tend to run in families. Women - particularly African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American women - have a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases.

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and some have similar symptoms. This makes it hard for your health care provider to know if you really have one of these diseases, and if so, which one. Getting a diagnosis can be frustrating and stressful. Often, the first symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches and a low fever. The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain and swelling.

The diseases may also have flare-ups, when they get worse, and remissions, when symptoms get better or disappear. Treatment depends on the disease, but in most cases one important goal is to reduce inflammation. Sometimes doctors prescribe corticosteroids or other drugs that reduce your immune response.

Symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases

The following features are indicative of Autoimmune Diseases:
  • pain
  • inflammation
  • redness
  • tiredness
  • weight gain
  • muscle aches
  • rash
  • blisters
  • fever
It is possible that Autoimmune Diseases shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Autoimmune Diseases

The following are the most common causes of Autoimmune Diseases:
  • family history
  • infections like Campylobacter jejuni

Risk Factors for Autoimmune Diseases

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Autoimmune Diseases:
  • environmental factors
  • women

Prevention of Autoimmune Diseases

No, it is not possible to prevent Autoimmune Diseases.
  • no known prevention

Occurrence of Autoimmune Diseases

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Autoimmune Diseases cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Autoimmune Diseases can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Autoimmune Diseases can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Autoimmune Diseases

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Autoimmune Diseases:
  • Antinuclear antibody test: To diagnose the autoimmune disorders
  • Antinuclear antibodies: To detect the presence of antinuclear antibodies in a healthy individual
  • C-reactive protein test: To detect inflammation
  • Blood Test Immunoglobulin A: To measures the blood level of immunoglobulin A
  • Complement test: To measure the quantity or activity of complement proteins in the blood
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate test: To detect inflammation
  • Protein electrophoresis: To identify the presence of abnormal proteins and the absence of normal proteins

Doctor for Diagnosis of Autoimmune Diseases

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases:
  • Nephrologist
  • Rheumatologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Neurologist
  • Hematologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Dermatologist
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Speech therapist
  • Audiologist
  • Vocational therapist
  • Counselor for emotional support

Complications of Autoimmune Diseases if untreated

Yes, Autoimmune Diseases causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Autoimmune Diseases is left untreated:
  • flares

Procedures for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

The following procedures are used to treat Autoimmune Diseases:
  • Plasmapheresis: Reduces the inflammation of tissues

Self-care for Autoimmune Diseases

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Autoimmune Diseases:
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Prevents the autoimmune diseases
  • Follow treatment plan: Relieves the symptoms
  • Get regular physical activity: Helps in prevention of autoimmune diseases
  • Reduce stress: Helps in reducing stress

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Autoimmune Diseases:
  • Acupuncture: Reduces the symptoms and manage the health
  • Chiropractic therapy: To normalize relationship between body's structure (mainly the spine) and its function
  • Hypnosis: To reduce pain

Patient Support for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

The following actions may help Autoimmune Diseases patients:
  • Education: By learning how to manage your disease
  • Joining a support group: Helps in managing stress and cope with your disease

Time for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Autoimmune Diseases to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 3 months

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Autoimmune Diseases.
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