Health

Pay Attention To These 40 Autoimmune Issues

Scleroderma impacts the skin.  As the name suggests, this autoimmune disease affects the skin making it hard and rough. It generally targets the lower arms and… Trista - December 11, 2019
This autoimmune disease also affects the skin. Pixabay

Scleroderma impacts the skin. 

As the name suggests, this autoimmune disease affects the skin making it hard and rough. It generally targets the lower arms and legs, region below the elbows and knees, and in rare cases, also affects the neck and face. There have been cases where scleroderma has affected the digestive tracts, lungs, kidneys, and heart. There is no cure for scleroderma, but you can dampen the symptoms’ effects by following the proper treatment and medications. The common symptoms of scleroderma occur rapidly. Hence it is vital to remain vigilant and do the necessary treatment before things get worse. The early signs majorly include tightening and hardening of the skin, Reynaud’s phenomenon, red spots and lines on the skin, difficulty in swallowing, and bumps under the skin. It has been found that scleroderma is caused due to excessive collagen formation, the component of connective tissue.

An inflammation of the blood vessels is called vasculitis. Pixabay

Vasculitis impacts the functioning of the blood vessels in your body. 

An autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the blood vessels, vasculitis can result in thickening, weakening, and narrowing of the blood vessel walls. It is a rare autoimmune disorder and is found in different types. Sometimes it only affects a single organ, and other times, it can conjointly affect two or more organs. The conditions of vasculitis can be either short-term or long-termed, and it majorly depends on the severity of the symptoms. The early signs and symptoms of vasculitis involve fever, headache, fatigue, sudden weight loss, general aches and pains, rashes, night sweats, numbness, and weakness. Though all these symptoms are generic, it can take a severe turn when ignoring repeatedly. Depending on the disease’s severity, different treatments have deployed that address the person’s specific issues.

Graves’ disease is characterized by an overproduction of hormones in the thyroid. Pixabay

Graves’ disease presents itself in a variety of symptoms.

It is an autoimmune system disorder that causes the overproduction of thyroid hormones, also known as hyperthyroidism. While there are several other causes of hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease is one among them and possibly the most prominent. Signs and symptoms are quite extensive; hence, they have a potential effect on the overall well-being. Graves’ disease can occur at any age, but it is common below 40. The Grave Disease symptoms generally include anxiety, irritability, weight loss, enlargement of the thyroid gland, fluctuation in menstrual cycles, erectile dysfunction, bulging eyes, fatigue, thick and red skin, irregular heartbeats, and sudden weight loss. Graves’ disease’s risk factors involve family history, emotional and physical stress, pregnancy, and smoking.

This autoimmune disease is also known as Berger’s. Pixabay

IgA nephropathy can be difficult to detect in its early stages.

Also known as Berger’s disease, IgA Nephropathy is an autoimmune disease that directly impacts the kidney when an antibody builds up in your kidney. This build-up of antibody called immunoglobulin A generates inflammation that, over time, can disable the kidney’s ability to filter waste from the blood. IgA nephropathy progresses slowly, and the intensity of the disease varies from person to person. There is no cure for IgA nephropathy, but certain medications can slow down its severity in a different person. IgA nephropathy symptoms are not visible in the initial stages that make it difficult for people to detect it at the early stage. IgA nephropathy symptoms you must never ignore are tea-colored urine, foamy urine, pain in your ribs and back, swelling in hands and feet, and high blood pressure. It is essential to pay heed to these symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

THS causes headaches and affects your eyes. Pixabay

Tolosa-hunt syndrome (THS) can be dangerous if left untreated. 

It is one of those rare autoimmune diseases identified through severe headaches with extraocular palsies that include third, fourth, fifth, and sixth cranial nerves. Tolosa-Hunt syndrome generally affects eye health and generates several eyes related issues, including pain, irritation, weakness, paralysis of eye muscles. Though the exact cause of this syndrome is unknown yet, it is anticipated that it is generally caused by inflammation in the back of the eye. The symptoms generally affect one side of the head and pain in specific eye muscles. If neglected, these symptoms can turn into permanent blindness.

Many people deal with ulcerative colitis, or UC. Pixabay

Ulcerative colitis can worsen if not properly treated.

It is an inflammatory bowel autoimmune disease that causes constant inflammation and creates ulcers in the digestive tract. It generally attacks the large intestine and rectum’s inner lining that can give rise to several irritating issues. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis are developed, gradually making it difficult to track the severity. If frequently neglected, ulcerative colitis can become a life-threatening issue. This bowel disease symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal pain, weight loss, fatigue, blood in urine, fever, and urgency to urinate, among others.

Have you ever heard of Guillain Barre Syndrome? Pixabay

Guillain Barre Syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease that can impact each individual differently.

It is a rare autoimmune disease wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nervous system. Making you feel weak and giving tingling sensations, Guillain Barre Syndrome, can paralyze your body over time. At its worst, Guillain Barre Syndrome can be a medical emergency and turn into a life-threatening disease. This autoimmune disease’s symptoms generally include prickling, pins and needles sensations in your toes, ankles, wrists, or fingers, weak legs, unstable walking, difficulty in doing facial and eye movements, irregular heartbeats, low/high blood pressure. There are three main types of Guillain Barre Syndrome, including acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, Miller Fisher Syndrome, and acute motor axonal neuropathy.

This autoimmune disease is very rare. Pixabay

The cause of Evans Syndrome is unknown. 

Evans syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease wherein the immune system destroys the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the body leading to several blood-related ailments. People affected by Evans syndrome are bound to experience thrombocytopenia (situation of low platelets), Coombs’ positive hemolytic anemia (destruction of red blood cells). The early signs and symptoms of Evans syndrome include fatigue, paleness, lightheadedness, and purpura. While the exact cause of Evans syndrome is entirely unknown, it is often directed to the impurities in blood and weakened the immune system.

This autoimmune disease may be recognized in patches of skin. Pixabay

Sarcoidosis causes inflamed cells to collect in different parts of the body. 

It is an autoimmune disease that results in inflammatory cells’ growth in different parts of the body. This collection of inflammatory cells is generally found in the lungs and lymph nodes. It can also affect the skin, eyes, heart, and other vital organs of the body. While the exact cause of sarcoidosis remains unknown, it is anticipated that the immune system might be responding to an unknown substance. Some research also proves that infectious agents, potential abnormal reaction, chemical and dust response to body protein can be a possible reason behind sarcoidosis. These autoimmune disease symptoms are quite generic, like fatigue, weight loss, pain, and swelling of joints. In extreme cases, lymph nodes are also swollen up. Many people suffering from sarcoidosis often do not show any symptoms, and their issues can only be detected with an x-ray.

Muscle inflammation and weakness is another autoimmune disease. Pixabay

Inclusion Body Myositis typically occurs in middle aged adults. 

There is a group of autoimmune diseases known as inflammatory myopathies. It is characterized by severe muscle inflammation followed by muscle weakness. The progression of the weakness is gradual and not sudden. It gets worse over the years. It can affect both proximal and distal muscles. Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM) can result in difficulty pinching, holding and gripping objects, and buttoning shirts. The symptoms are usually witnessed after the age of 50, though there are chances that the disease may occur earlier. The weakness of the finger muscles and forearm muscles are among the common symptoms of IBM.

Visit your doctor if you display any of these symptoms. Pixabay

Amyloidosis can affect various parts of the body. 

It is a rare autoimmune disease wherein a protein called amyloid starts building in the organs. It is an abnormal protein generated in the bone marrow and can get deposited into any tissue or organ. Amyloidosis generally affects the kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system, digestive tract, and heart. Severe cases of amyloidosis have led to organ failures, as well. The early signs of amyloidosis generally include short breath, swelling of ankles and legs, numbness, diarrhea, enlarged tongue, irregular heartbeat, difficulty swallowing, thickening and bruising, and purple patches around the eyes. It is vital to detect the symptoms as soon as possible to get the right medications.

This autoimmune disease affects the lungs. Pixabay

Fibrosing alveolitis causes scarring in the lungs. 

Better known as Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, fibrosing alveolitis is an autoimmune disease that causes thickening or scarring of the lungs. The exact cause of this rare autoimmune disease is still unknown; it is anticipated that it may arise due to lung reaction to an unknown substance. In this disease, your lungs become stiff and scarred, making it challenging to inhale and exhale. The symptoms of fibrosing alveolitis generally include chest pain, cough, short breath, and decreased intolerance. Fibrosing alveolitis cannot be cured completely, but some treatments can manage the symptoms.

This skin condition can affect the genitals as well. Pixabay

Lichen planus can present itself with rashes on your skin. 

Causing swelling and irritation in the skin, nail, hair, and mucous membrane, lichen planus is an autoimmune disease directly affecting your skin. The rashes can be seen in purplish, itchy, flat bumps that gradually progress over the weeks. Generally, these patches are formed in the mouth, vagina, and areas covered with mucous membranes. The symptoms of lichen planus include hair loss, change in scalp color, nail damage, blisters, painful sores, and lacy white patches. It is crucial to detect these symptoms at the earliest before the situation gets worse.

This autoimmune disease is considered a sleeping disorder. Pixabay

Narcolepsy can be extremely disruptive to your life. 

It is an autoimmune disease related to the brain. Narcolepsy is also deemed a sleeping disorder because it is characterized by significant drowsiness and sudden sleep attacks during the day. It can create severe disruption in your daily routine. People suffering from Narcolepsy often struggle to stay awake during the day. In some cases, Narcolepsy can also result in a sudden loss of muscle tone. The primary symptoms of Narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of muscle tone, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, and change in rapid eye movement (RPE). If you have been experiencing such issues, it is advised to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Type 1 diabetes impacts a large number of individuals. Shutterstock

Type 1 diabetes impacts your blood sugar levels. 

Many individuals have type 1 diabetes. Within your body, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which aids in regulating blood sugar levels. In type 1 diabetes mellitus, the immune system not only attacks but destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, your blood sugar levels will rise. High blood sugar results can have a variety of impacts on your overall health. If left untreated, high blood sugar levels can lead to damage in the blood vessels and organs like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. If you have type 1 diabetes, it can be critical to closely monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure they are maintained within a healthy range to avoid having other impacts on your body. 

Addison’s disease can include a variety of symptoms. Shutterstock

Autoimmune disorders such as Addison’s disease can have a large impact on your life. 

Addison’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that impacts the adrenal glands, which produce the hormones cortisol and aldosterone as well as androgen hormones. Adequate hormone levels contribute to proper functioning within your body. Having too little cortisol can impact the way the body uses and stores carbohydrates and sugar. A deficiency of aldosterone will lead to sodium loss and excess potassium in the bloodstream. Addison’s disease can present in various symptoms that include weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and low blood sugar. If you are experiencing any of these unexplained symptoms, you should seek professional medical advice to see if there is any impact on your hormones. 

There are several thyroid autoimmune disorders, with one being Hashimoto’s. Shutterstock

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. 

Thyroiditis refers to the inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is an autoimmune disorder involving chronic inflammation of the thyroid. Over time, the thyroid gland’s ability to produce thyroid hormones often becomes impaired and leads to a gradual decline in function and, eventually, an underactive thyroid. While it is often seen in middle-aged women, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be seen at any age and can also affect men and children. There are no signs and symptoms that are unique to Hashimoto’s. Since this particular autoimmune disease tends to progress very slowly over many years, people with Hashimoto’s may not have any symptoms early on. 

Some autoimmune disorders, such as Myasthenia gravis, impact the nerves. Shutterstock

Myasthenia gravis causes weakness in the skeletal muscles. 

Myasthenia gravis affects nerve impulses that help the brain control the muscles. When the communication from the nerves to the muscles is impaired, signals cannot direct the muscles to contract. The most common symptom is muscle weakness that tends to get worse with activity and improves with rest. Other symptoms include trouble talking, facial paralysis, fatigue, and difficulty breathing due to muscle weakness. This neuromuscular, autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In this particular condition, antibodies attack the neuromuscular junction. Damage to the neuromuscular membrane reduces the effect of the neurotransmitter substance acetylcholine, which is a crucial substance for communication between nerve cells and muscles. The exact cause of this autoimmune reaction is unclear. 

Pernicious anemia is more common in older adults compared to younger people. Shutterstock

Pernicious anemia is a rare, autoimmune disease. 

This particular autoimmune disease causes the deficiency of a protein made by stomach lining cells, known as an intrinsic factor needed for the small intestine to absorb vitamin B-12 from food. Without enough of the vitamin B-12, an individual will develop anemia, and the body’s ability for proper DNA synthesis will be altered. Anemia is a medical condition in which the blood is low in normal red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 is a required nutrient that helps allow proper red blood cell production and function in the body. The progression of pernicious anemia is generally slow and can often be challenging to diagnose. That is due to the common symptoms of fatigue, weakness, headaches, and weight loss associated with various other health issues. In more severe or prolonged vitamin B-12 deficiency cases, individuals may experience neurological symptoms that include depression, memory loss, or dementia. 

Lambert-Eaton syndrome is an autoimmune disease that attacks the neuromuscular junctions. Shutterstock

Lambert-Eaton syndrome affects the way your nerves and muscles communicate. 

Neuromuscular junctions are the areas where your nerves and muscles connect. Usually, your nerve cells pass signals along to your muscle cells, and these signals help your muscles move. Lambert-Eaton syndrome is where the immune system attacks those neuromuscular junctions. This disruption can make it difficult to move your muscles as you normally would. Lambert-Eaton syndrome is often associated with a specific type of cancer, small cell lung cancer. This syndrome may result from your body’s efforts to fight underlying cancer.

In some cases, the syndrome develops following another autoimmune disease, and in other cases, the cause is unknown. Symptoms can include weak muscles, eyelid drooping, fatigue, trouble breathing, and difficulty speaking and swallowing. Since the exact cause is not fully understood, it is not entirely clear how to prevent this disease. 

Cogan syndrome causes inflammation in your eyes and ears. Shutterstock

Cogan syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease. 

In the case of Cogan syndrome, it is believed that your immune system created antibodies that attack the tissue in your eyes and ears. It often starts as inflammatory eye disease and can cause your cornea’s tissue to be inflamed. You may also experience waterline eyes, red, painful eyes, and sensitivity to light. Also, you may experience signs of inflammation in your ears. Additional ear symptoms include hearing loss, dizziness, or ringing in your ears. The exact cause of Cogan syndrome is unknown. It can impact both men and women. While Cogan syndrome is treatable, you may experience periodic flare-ups for many years. If left untreated, over time, it can lead to permanent vision and hearing loss. 

This disease is autoimmune disease, causing inflammation and weakness in muscles. Shutterstock

Polymyositis develops gradually over time. 

Polymyositis is an inflammatory muscle disease that affects the muscles closest to the trunk of the body. Eventually, people with polymyositis have trouble rising from a sitting position, climbing stairs, or lifting objects. In some cases, muscles that are not close to the body’s trunk become affected as the disease progresses. Polymyositis rarely affects individuals younger than 18 years of age. It is more common in women. The condition occurs when the immune system cells infiltrate and attack muscle tissue. The cause of polymyositis is unknown. However, it is thought that heredity plays a role. Initial symptoms might include shortness of breath, fever, weight loss, or a patchy rash around the eyes. In some cases, your muscles may ache and be tender to the touch. Muscle weakness is usually gradual and can occur over three to six months. 

Susac’s syndrome is a rare, autoimmune disease. Shutterstock

Susac’s syndrome attacks blood vessels in the body. 

With Susac’s syndrome, the immune system attacks the smallest blood vessels in the brain, retina, and inner ear become blocked, causing these organs to suffer due to decreased blood flow. Although rare, it is more commonly found in females. You may experience a variety of symptoms from your brain, eyes, and inner ear. Symptoms can include severe headaches, slurred speech, loss of peripheral vision, and dizziness. All three parts of this disease may not appear at the same time. It may take weeks, months, or even years for all three parts to show up, and some patients never have more than two of them. Susac’s syndrome occurs when one’s immune system attacks the endothelial cells; the cells that line our blood vessels’ inner walls. When they are attacked, the endothelial cells swell up and partly or completely shut off blood flow through the vessel. The resulting lack of oxygen and nutrients causes the affected organs to suffer. 

Kawasaki disease causes swelling in the walls of the arteries throughout the body. Shutterstock

Impacting primarily children, Kawasaki disease occurs in phases. 

Kawasaki disease is an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation in the walls of medium-sized arteries throughout the body. The inflammation tends to affect the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. It can also affect lymph nodes, skin, and the mucous membranes inside the mouth, nose, and throat. Kawasaki disease signs and symptoms usually appear in three phases. Symptoms of the first phase can include high fever, rash on the body, and irritability. In the second phase, symptoms can include joint pain, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In the third phase of the disease, signs, and symptoms slowly go away unless complications develop. The exact cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown. However, three risk factors are known to increase the child’s risk of developing Kawasaki disease, including age, sex, and ethnicity. 

The immune system works in mysterious ways. Pixabay

Why does the immune system cause these diseases?

The immune system is the guard that protects our body from diseases and infections. Have you ever imagined that the immune system which safeguards your body from ailments can become a villain and turn against your body? Yes, that’s what happens when you get autoimmune diseases. Your immune system loses the ability to fight off the viruses and becomes vulnerable to diseases and infections. The immune system starts producing antibodies that attack the body tissues rather than fighting the disease. The above mentioned were some of the major autoimmune diseases that everyone must be aware of to fight them and safeguard the immune system. Never remain negligent to uncertain signs of your body. If you have been experiencing any unexplained symptoms and changes in your body, you must immediately consult your doctor and get the right medications before it gets too late.

Advertisement