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More about Autoimmune Diseases

Common Autoimmune Diseases

Rheumatoid arthritis:  Inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues

Systemic lupus erythematosus:  affects skin, joints, kidneys, brain and other organs

Celiac sprue disease:  a reaction to gluten (commonly found in rye, wheat and barley).  The reaction causes damage to the lining of the small intestine

Scelroderma:  Connective tissue disease causing changes in blood vessels, muscles, internal organs and skin.

Psoriasis:  condition which causes silver-white flaky patches on the skin

Reactive arthritis:  Inflammation of joints, eyes and urethra.  May cause sores to develop on skin and mucous membranes.

Inflammatory bowel disease:  a group of diseases characterized by inflammation of the colon and small intestine.

Thyroid gland disease: including Hashimoto’s (inflammation of the thyroid gland) and Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid gland)

Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease

There are many types of autoimmune disease and many symptoms.  Symptoms are worse when the patient is experiencing a flare-up of the disease.

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • feeling generally ill or flu-like

Autoimmune diseases affect organs and tissue, most commonly

  • skin
  • connective tissue
  • muscles
  • joints
  • red blood cells
  • blood vessels
  • endocrine glands

How are autoimmune diseases treated?

Autoimmune diseases are chronic and have no cure.  Treatment generally focuses on relieving or lessening the symptoms such as

  • decreasing stress
  • limit sun exposure
  • exercise and eat a balanced diet
  • get plenty of rest
  • pain medication/ anti-inflammatory medication when joints involved
  • physical therapy
  • hormone replacement