Autoimmune Disorders – What are Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune disorders are when an otherwise healthy immune system begins to attack the tissues and organs in the body. It mistakenly believes that these cells are foreign objects and works diligently to get rid of them.

If you feel constantly exhausted, have trouble falling asleep, have lost your appetite and cannot eat much or experience aching muscles and joints on a daily basis, then you may have an autoimmune disorder. Most autoimmune diseases start shortly after puberty and will continue throughout the lifetime of the individual.

There are over eighty known types of autoimmune disorders, ranging from conditions such as lupus and hepatitis to rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disorders.

Autoimmune Disorders in Women

Autoimmune disorders occur in both men and women but for some unknown reason, they tend to occur in women more than men. Doctors are not exactly sure what triggers the body's defense system to attack itself, but since nearly three quarters of cases are with women, they suspect it may be hormone-related. In some cases, such as those patients with multiple sclerosis, hormone levels can affect how severe the disorder reacts.

There are times when the disorder can go into remission but there is always the chance that it will flare up again. These disorders can attack a variety of organs and lead to several painful conditions that can be debilitating.

Researchers and doctors continue to work to unravel one of the mysteries of medical science and to discover what causes the immune system to begin attacking its own body.

Different Types of Autoimmune Disorders

One of the more common autoimmune disorders is rheumatoid arthritis which affects women in three quarters of the around two million cases. If the condition remains untreated, some thirty to forty percent of folks will suffer stiffness of joints, immobility, chronic fatigue and inflammation.

Lupus is another of the autoimmune disorders that causes swelling, weakness, muscle or joint pain and insomnia. Other telltale signs of Lupus can include sensitivity to light and a butterfly rash. If lupus remains untreated, it can lead to serious damage to internal organs, kidney failure, seizures, depression, blood clots, psychosis, strokes or migraines.

Other autoimmune disorders include multiple sclerosis, although there is some debate about this classification, type 1 diabetes, hepatitis, Addison's disease, Wegener's disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Grave's syndrome and over/under active thyroid.

Treatment for Autoimmune Disorders

If you are suffering from any form of autoimmune disorder, then over the counter pain relieving medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to reduce swelling, may work for your particular condition. More severe symptoms can be treated with prescription drugs.

Typically, it is a system of trial-and-error to see what your body responds to, so do not feel discouraged if the first attempt does not yield immediate results.

As always, if you suspect that you may be suffering from any autoimmune disorders, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Page Updated: March 31, 2017
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