Autoimmune Disease

General or Other | Allergy & Immunology | Autoimmune Disease (Disease)


Autoimmune diseases appear when the body has an inappropriate immune response against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the immune system attacks its own cell, confusing some part of the body with a pathogen. Autoimmune diseases are more frequent in women than in men.

Symptoms of an autoimmune disease vary based on the disease and location of the abnormal immune response. Symptoms that often occur with autoimmune diseases include: fatigue, fever and general ill-feeling known as malaise.

Causes and Risk factors

An autoimmune disorder may result in: the destruction of one or more types of body tissue; abnormal growth of an organ; changes in organ function.

Autoimmune disorders are classified into organ-specific and non-organ-specific types. In organ-specific disorders, the autoimmune process is directed mainly against one organ. Examples include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (thyroid gland), pernicious anemia (stomach), Addison’s disease (adrenal glands), and type 1 diabetes mellitus (pancreas).

In non-organ-specific disorders, autoimmune activity is towards a tissue, such as connective tissue, that is widespread in the body. Examples of non-organ-specific disorders are systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Tests that may be done to diagnose an autoimmune disorder may include: antinuclear antibody tests; autoantibody tests; C-reactive protein (CRP); Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

The goals of treatment are to: reduce symptoms, control the autoimmune process and maintain the bodys ability to fight disease. Corticosteroid drugs are most commonly used but may be combined with other immunosuppressant drugs. ...

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