Autoimmune diseases are illnesses when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. The immune system is designed to protect the body from foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. But in people with autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakes the body’s healthy cells for foreign invaders.
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases. They can affect any part of the body. Autoimmune diseases are often chronic, which means they can last for many years and can be difficult to manage.
There is no cure for autoimmune diseases, but there are treatments available that can help to manage the symptoms and reduce the severity of the disease.
Why does the immune system attack the body?
There are a number of theories as to why the immune system might attack the body, but the exact cause is still unknown. One theory is that the body’s own proteins are incorrectly identified as foreign invaders. Another theory is that the immune system is unable to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy cells. Whatever the cause, the result is an immune response that attacks the body’s own tissues and organs.
Common autoimmune diseases:
Guillain-Barré syndrome: Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disease that affects the peripheral nervous system. It can cause paralysis and even death. The cause is unknown, but it is thought to be triggered by an infection or another disease. Treatment is typical with steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs.
Erythema nodosum: Erythema nodosum is a type of autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the fatty tissues under the skin. This can lead to the formation of hard, red bumps on the skin that are called nodules.
Sclerodactyly: Sclerodactyly is an autoimmune disease that results in the hardening and tightening of the skin on the fingers and toes. The cause of sclerodactyly is unknown, but it is believed to be the result of an overactive immune system.
Scleroderma: Scleroderma is one of the autoimmune diseases that a person can have. It is a disease where the immune system attacks the body’s tissues and organs. The cause of scleroderma is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors.
Graves disease: Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism.
Purple disease: Purple disease is the most common autoimmune disease, affecting over 50 million people in the United States alone. The cause of the purple disease is still unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Sjögren’s syndrome: Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that attacks the moisture-producing glands in your body. This can cause dryness in your mouth, eyes, and other areas. It can also lead to other problems.
Psoriasis: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to produce new skin cells at an accelerated rate. This results in the formation of thick, scaly patches on the skin that can be itchy, painful, and unsightly. There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments that can help to control the symptoms.
Reynolds syndrome: Reynolds syndrome is an autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s connective tissue. This can lead to a wide range of problems, including joint pain, skin rashes, and organ damage.