What Are The 7 Autoimmune Diseases?
Autoimmune diseases, referred to as ADs, are pathologies. They are chronic in nature and are typically caused by the loss of immunological tolerance to self-antigens. This can cause systemic damage in some cases, and specifically damage certain organs in others.
How common are autoimmune diseases?
Autoimmune diseases are quite common across different populations. They are frequently the cause behind morbidity and mortality, with it being prevalent in approximately 3,225 people for every 1,00,000 persons sampled. For the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, genetic and environmental factors play a telling role.
What are the environmental factors behind autoimmune diseases?
In simple terms, infections, and exposure to pathogens and other opportunistic living beings are those environmental factors behind ADs. They may induce autoimmune diseases’ initiation, or worse, exacerbate already-existing autoimmune conditions. Other factors such as sunlight, infections, medications, and chemicals in the environment can also greatly influence the causes that lead to a person having an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases often go undiagnosed and untreated — thereby increasing the mortality rates — in developing countries such as India. It is crucial, therefore, for people to find an autoimmune specialist and get themselves cured through an autoimmune disease treatment depending upon the type of autoimmune disease that they are dealing with.
What are the types of autoimmune diseases?
Though there are several unique autoimmune diseases (more than 7 autoimmune diseases exist), they all can be encapsulated inside two broad categories. They are:
- Systemic autoimmune diseases
- Organ-specific autoimmune diseases
Let’s begin by looking into the details of organ-specific autoimmune diseases.
Organ-specific autoimmune diseases
These autoimmune diseases, as their name suggests, are those that target specific tissues or entire organs. The following are the types of organ-specific autoimmune diseases:
- Graves’ disease
- Type I diabetes mellitus
- Addison’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Hashimoto thyroiditis
This is a disease typically associated with the small intestine. However, other organs are known to be affected by celiac disease, too. This is a disease that’s largely based on genetic predispositions, and can begin at any age — even though people in their 30s and 40s, and children are those who are most affected by it. Celiac disease is of the digestive kind and stems from allergy to gluten, and its symptoms are grossly misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome.
Hyperthyroidism is an infamous thyroid disorder that can either exist severely or mildly. This autoimmune disease is often a result of Graves’ disease that must already exist in a body. Severe Hyperthyroidism can lead to undesirable complications such as:
- Intolerance to cold
- Weakness of muscles
- Bulging eyes
- Erratic heartbeat
- Painful joints
- Clinical depression
- Memory loss
Type I diabetes mellitus
Autoimmune diseases can take the form of juvenile diabetes that affects children and young adults. This is a pancreatic disorder and results in the lack of production of insulin by the pancreas. The symptoms of this diabetes are:
- Increase in thirst and urination
- Loss of weight
When the adrenal glands are severely damaged, the resultant autoimmune disease is Addison disease. Reports suggest that Addison’s disease could also negatively impact the pancreas and thyroid endocrine glands. The symptoms include:
- Terrible weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Hyperpigmentation, and
Systemic autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases, we know by now, are also of a systemic nature. They are generalized in the way they are and can target several organs or tissues throughout one’s body. Some of the common systemic autoimmune diseases are:
This is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). Multiple sclerosis is known to affect the brain and the spinal cord. If in a person, there are multiple lesions within the CNS, chances are that multiple sclerosis is their issue. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Weakness in muscles
- Difficulty balancing
- Prickling sensations
- Cognitive and memory issues
This autoimmune disease, Psoriasis, negatively impacts the normalcy of a person’s skin. It causes itchy, sore patches of thick, red skin. Psoriasis also causes silvery scales on elbows, knees, scalp, palms, feet, and back commonly.
Amongst chronic inflammatory joint diseases, the most common is rheumatoid arthritis. Though there are several top rheumatologists in Coimbatore, there remain unsolved questions regarding the environmental and genetic causes of the disease. As such, it is to date, a medical challenge. The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis typically include:
- Inflammation of the joints of the hands
- Inflammation of the feet and leg joints
- Damage of joints such as erosions
- The loss of bones within a joint
If a person is in pain owing to the aforementioned causes, it is then of utmost importance for them to visit the best hospital for rheumatology in Coimbatore for high-quality treatment of this, or if there need be, any other autoimmune disease in their body.