Autoimmune disorders are the unusual immune responses to the body’s own tissues and substances. Your body recognizes them as foreign and goes in for the attack. Treatment is typically done with heavy duty immune-suppressants, drugs that attempt to lessen the abnormal immune responses.

At this time, there are over 80 disorders, and they are categorized by location and type of tissue or organ affected. A good portion of these diseases are systemic and can cause chronic body wide pain and a multitude of problems. There are studies that show if you have one autoimmune disorder, you are more likely to have another.

Autoimmune disorders are way more common then you think:

Overall, autoimmune diseases are common, affecting more than 23.5 million Americans. They are a leading cause of death and disability. Yet some autoimmune diseases are rare, while others, such as Hashimoto’s disease, affect many people.

Womenshealth.gov

Here are some of the more common autoimmune disorders and what organs they typically effect.

List of Common Auto Immune Disorders

  • Hashimoto’s disease, where the immune system attacks the thyroid cells.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain in the joints in the hands and feet.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus: affects the skin, kidney, joints, brain, and other organs.
  • Celiac sprue disease: Gluten reacts in the intestines.
  • Pernicious Anemia: the blood is unable to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Vitiligo: The skin all over your bodyn has white patches.
  • Scleroderma: abnormalities in the connective tissues.
  • Psoriasis: the skin becomes red, thick, and flaky.
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases: inflammation of the colon and ileum.
  • Addison’s disease: insufficiency of adrenaline.
  • Grave’s disease: the thyroid gland overreacts.
  • Reactive arthritis: the eyes, urethra, and joints inflame.
  • Sjorgen’s syndrome: the glands that produce saliva and tears are destroyed. Mouth and eyes become dry.

Make sure to track your symptoms.

Autoimmune disorders affect women more than men and many symptoms can overlap and confuse patients and doctors. There are quite a few autoimmune disorders that cannot be found on any medical test. The only way to diagnose them is long term chronic recurring symptoms. It’s important to keep a log of your symptoms and their frequency so you can discuss it with your Rheumatologist. Personally, I like to take pictures if it’s something like unusual swelling, rash, or other symptoms you can see but may not be there once you make it to your doctor.

Katie