Autoimmune Disorders

Immune system problems result in abnormally low or high immune system activity. Autoimmune illnesses are conditions in which an overactive immune system causes the body to attack and harm its own tissues. Immune deficiency illnesses make the body less able to defend itself against invaders, making it more susceptible to infections.

The immune system may start manufacturing antibodies in response to an unidentified trigger that, instead of battling infections, target the body’s own tissues. The goal of autoimmune illness treatment is often to lower immune system activity.

Types of autoimmune diseases

Rheumatoid arthritis

Antibodies made by the immune system adhere to joint linings. The joints are then attacked by immune system cells, which result in discomfort, swelling, and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis eventually damages joints permanently if left untreated. There are many oral or injectable drugs that can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lower immune system overactivity.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)

Those who have lupus produce autoimmune antibodies that can cling to body tissues all over. Commonly impacted by lupus include the joints, lungs, blood cells, nerves, and kidneys. Prednisone, an oral steroid that lowers immune system activity, is frequently prescribed as part of treatment.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Aside from episodes of diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, need for urgent bowel movements, stomach pain, fever, and weight loss, the immune system also targets the lining of the intestines. The two main types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Immune-suppressing drugs can be used orally or intravenously to treat IBD.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Pain, blindness, weakness, clumsiness, and muscle spasms can all be signs that the immune system is attacking nerve cells. Multiple sclerosis can be treated with several immune system-suppressing drugs.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are attacked and destroyed by immune system antibodies. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin shots to survive at the time of diagnosis.

Guillain-Barre syndrome

The nerves that govern the muscles in the legs, and occasionally the arms and upper torso, are attacked by the immune system. Weakness follows, which can occasionally be very severe. The main form of treatment for Guillain-Barre syndrome involves filtering the blood through a process known as plasmapheresis.

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy

In CIDP, the immune system also targets the nerves similarly to Guillain-Barre, but symptoms remain much longer. If not identified and treated early, about 30% of patients may become wheelchair-bound. CIDP and GBS are essentially treated in the same way.


T-cells, which are immune system blood cells, gather in the skin in psoriasis. In response to immune system activity, skin cells multiply quickly, resulting in silvery, scaly plaques on the skin.

Graves’ disease

Hyperthyroidism is a condition when the thyroid gland releases too much thyroid hormone into the blood as a result of antibodies the immune system creates. Bulging eyes, as well as uneasiness, irritability, a quick heartbeat, weakness, and brittle hair, are signs of Graves’ illness. In order to effectively treat Graves’ illness, the thyroid gland must be destroyed or removed via medication or surgery.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

The thyroid gland is attacked by immune system-produced antibodies, which gradually kill the cells that make thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels, typically develop over months or years. Fatigue, constipation, weight gain, sadness, dry skin, and sensitivity to cold are among the symptoms. Normal bodily functions are restored by taking an oral synthetic thyroid hormone supplement each day.

Myasthenia gravis

Antibodies bind to neurons, preventing them from adequately stimulating muscles. The primary symptom of myasthenia gravis is weakness that worsens with activity. The major medication used to treat myasthenia gravis is mestineon (pyridostigmine).


Also referred to as scleroderma.  It is an autoimmune chronic connective disease that inflames several parts of the body, including the skin.  The excessive production of collagen brought on by this inflammation damages your blood vessels and other internal organs including the heart, lungs, and kidneys as well as produces noticeable hardening of the skin.  The objectives of treatment are to relieve symptoms and halt the disease’s progression, but there is no known cure.


In these autoimmune illnesses, the immune system targets and harms blood vessels. Vasculitis symptoms can appear practically everywhere in the body and vary considerably depending on which organ is affected. Reducing immune system activity is part of the treatment, commonly with prednisone or another corticosteroid.


Despite the varying types of autoimmune disease, many of them share similar symptoms. Common symptoms of autoimmune disease include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Skin problems
  • Abdominal pain or digestive issues
  • Recurring fever
  • Swollen glands


  • Sunlight associated with autoimmune disease – Juvenile dermatomyositis, an autoimmune condition characterised by muscle weakness and skin rashes, may be brought on by exposure to UV radiation from sunshine.
  • Childhood poverty linked to rheumatoid arthritis in adulthood – Rheumatoid arthritis and having a lower socioeconomic position as a youngster are related. The combined effect of having both a paternal and personal history of smoking was equal to the effect of a lower adult education level and worse childhood socioeconomic position.
  • Agricultural chemicals and rheumatoid arthritis – In male farm workers, exposure to some pesticides may contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Organic mercury may trigger autoimmune disease – Even at exposure levels widely regarded as safe, methylmercury may contribute to the emergence of autoimmune antibodies in females of fertile age. Autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis could develop because of these antibodies.
  • Genetic factors in autoimmune muscle disease – The main genetic risk factors in Caucasian populations in Europe and the United States for developing autoimmune muscle disease.
  • Gene-environment interaction in rheumatoid arthritis – A gene-environment interaction’s mechanisms, which could explain why environmental toxins like cigarette smoke increase a person’s rheumatoid arthritis risk.
  • Role of nutrition in the development of autoimmune disease – In older populations, vitamin D may be crucial for preventing immunological dysfunction. According to a different study, dietary micronutrients could either make lupus symptoms worse or better.


Although there is no cure for autoimmune illnesses, treatments can control the overactive immune system and minimise inflammation, or at the very least lessen it.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn), and immunosuppressant medications are used to treat these diseases.

Other therapies could help with a particular symptom like weariness.

You might feel better if you eat a balanced or anti-inflammatory diet and exercise frequently.


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