Is your body attacking you?

Autoimmune disease

An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. The immune system protects us from diseases and infections in the body.

Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue.

Common types of autoimmune diseases

1. Psoriasis

autoimmune disease

This is an inflammatory skin condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches.

It is not contagious and its spread ranges from mild patches of skin to large, thick plaques affecting the entire body surface.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis

autoimmune disease

This is a disease in which the immune system attacks the linings of the joints. This results in joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and destruction.

3. Scleroderma / systemic sclerosis

autoimmune disease

An autoimmune disease characterized by abnormal growth of connective tissue in the skin and blood vessels.

In more severe forms, connective tissue can build up in the kidneys, lungs, heart, and gastrointestinal tract, leading in some cases to organ failure.

4. Thyroiditis

autoimmune disease

It is an inflammation of the thyroid gland that causes the gland to become underactive.

This leads to symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, weight gain, cold intolerance, and muscle aches.

5. Vitiligo

autoimmune disease

A disorder in which the immune system destroys pigment-making cells called melanocytes. This results in white patches of skin on different parts of the body.

6. Diabetes type 1

autoimmune disease

This is a condition in which the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, making it impossible for the body to use glucose (blood sugar) for energy.

Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults.

7. Graves’ disease

autoimmune disease

With this disease, your immune system attacks the thyroid and causes it to make more thyroid hormone than your body needs.

This results in the overproduction of thyroid hormone.

This causes such symptoms as nervousness, heat intolerance, heart palpitations, and unexplained weight loss. The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the throat.

8. Lupus

autoimmune disease

This is a chronic disease that causes inflammation throughout the body.

In lupus, the immune system malfunctions and produces antibodies that mistakenly attack healthy tissues. Lupus most commonly affects the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, brain, lungs, and blood cells

9. Inflammatory bowel disease

autoimmune disease

It represents a group of intestinal disorders that cause prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract.

The most common type includes Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. This condition causes long-lasting inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum.

10. Alopecia areata

autoimmune disease

When you have alopecia, it results to hair falling out unpredictably in round patches. Sometimes, it can lead to the complete loss of hair on the scalp or in extreme cases, the entire body.

It affects both men and women and usually occurs before the age of 30.

11. Celiac disease

autoimmune disease

This is an immune reaction when you eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

Over time, the immune reaction to eating gluten creates inflammation that damages your small intestine’s lining, leading to medical complications.

It also prevents absorption of some nutrients


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