List Of Some Serious Autoimmune Diseases

The normal role of the immune system is to provide protection to the body from different invaders such as bacterias and viruses. When a person suffers from any autoimmune diseases, it means that the ability to differentiate foreign from self is compromised. It occurs when the cells of the immune system attack the healthy tissues of the body and result in inflammation and damage.  

1. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. This disease is caused when the immune system targets the lining of the joints and causes inflammation and damage to the joints. It can affect the joints of any part of the body but the joints of the hands and feet are usually affected. There are many symptoms that are experienced by a person suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and some of them include stiffness, swelling, tenderness to touch, irritability, depression, and extreme tiredness. As this condition progresses, it can lead to permanent damage to the joints and as a result, it causes deformity of joints and loss of functions. In severe cases, a person might experience symptoms such as weight loss, inflammation in the eyes, inflammation in other parts of the body and rheumatoid nodules. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age but people of middle age and older people are mostly attacked. The exact cause of this disease is not known but hormones, genes, and environment may play roles in the occurrence of this disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease and people having this disease are more likely to also have other medical conditions such as heart disease, anemia, infection, bone loss, and lung disease.

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2. Grave’s disease

Grave’s disease is a syndrome which affects the thyroid and is characterized by the hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when the production of thyroid hormone is more than the body needs. Grave’s disease is also known as toxic diffuse goiter and this disease develops when the immune system makes thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin. This antibody stimulates the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone. Some of the symptoms that are experienced by people suffering from Grave’s disease include irritability, weight loss, hand tremors, frequent bowel movements, irregular heartbeat, and sleeping disorders. Sometimes, grave’s disease also affects the skin and eyes. Some people having grave’s disease experience reddening and thickening of the skin. This condition is known as grave’s dermopathy and it is usually a painless problem. Grave’s disease can also be associated with inflammation of the eyes and swelling of the tissues around the eyes. This condition is known as Grave’s ophthalmopathy.

3. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammatory skin condition. It affects people of all ages and the negative impact on people’s lives can be adverse. Psoriasis has several different types:

  • Psoriasis vulgaris – This is the commonest type of psoriasis and it is characterized by the plaques which are red/salmon pink in color. These plaques are covered by white scales that can be of any size and they mostly occur in elbows and knees.
  • Guttate psoriasis – This is the second most common type of psoriasis and it frequently occurs in young adults and adolescents. It is characterized as small red drop type spots that cover a large portion of the skin and these spots are usually located on the trunk, arms, legs, and scalp.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis – This is a serious type of psoriasis that disrupts the chemical balance of the body and causes severe illness. It is characterized by severe itching, scaling, and pain that affects the entire body.
  • Nail Psoriasis – This type brings changes in the nails and causes inflammation of the nail bed. It causes yellowish discoloration.
  • Psoriasis arthritis – This is a severe form that can take type to develop of can develop rapidly. It is a chronic inflammatory joint disease and most of the people who suffer from psoriasis arthritis also have nail psoriasis.

4. Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a disorder that involves all the organs of the body but most importantly it involves the skin, blood vessels, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and the heart. The severity of this disease can vary from person to person, for one it can be mild but for the other, it can be life-threatening. Basically, the severity of the disease depends on which parts of the body are affected and to what extent they are affected. Scleroderma is characterized by the poor blood flow to the fingers and toes, thickened skin, stiffness, and extreme tiredness. Scleroderma is of two types systemic and localized scleroderma. According to researchers, women are more likely to suffer from this disease as compared to men. The exact cause of this disease is still unknown but genetics and environment factors play a role in the development of this autoimmune disease. Also, environment factor seems to play a more important role than genetic factors.

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.