What are the most common auto-immune diseases?

Posted On By Jessie

An auto-immune disease is caused by an over-active immune system. Auto-immune diseases are incurable, but there are treatment options to manage symptoms and reduce further damage to the body.

The immune system is responsible for preventing infections and diseases in the body. Many body parts including certain blood cells, skin, and bone marrow make up the body’s immune system.

According to the experts at House Call Doctor, auto-immune diseases occur when the immune system begins to attack perfectly healthy organs and tissues rather than outside bacteria and viruses.

The cause of auto-immune diseases is unknown. Family history, infections, or medications are possible triggers for auto-immune diseases.

Genetics, environmental factors, gender, sex hormones and infection are believed to be potential risk factors for developing an auto-immune disease.

Many people often experience symptoms and signs of an auto-immune disease for prolonged periods before they seek treatment. It can take time to diagnose an auto-immune disease, with multiple tests required before a diagnosis can be made.

There are over 80 auto-immune diseases which can either be localised to a part of the body or affect multiple organs and tissues.

Common auto-immune diseases

  1. Type 1 Diabetes – the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels, causing hunger, thirst and frequent urination.

    Although the symptoms for Type 1 Diabetes can differ for adults and children, they are quite subtle for both and you should see a doctor if you notice any of the below signs becoming severe:

  • Increased hunger
  • Dry mouth and heavy thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in your stomach.
  1. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – this disease affects the nervous system, causing muscle weakness, coordination difficulties, vision issues and sometimes cognitive difficulties.

Some symptoms and early warning signs of MS include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Issues swallowing food and liquids
  • Blurred vision
  1. Graves’ Disease – an overactive thyroid that causes heart palpitations, weight loss and irritated or bulging eyes.

Common symptoms of Graves’ disease can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss (even if you are eating normally)
  • Tremor in your hands and fingers
  • Increase in perspiration and heat sensitivity
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Irregular or rapid heart beat
  • Fatigue
  • Bulging eyes.
  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis – damage to bones and cartilage causes swollen and tender joints.

Early signs of rheumatoid arthritis can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain, tenderness, swelling, warmth, stiffness, redness
  • Loss of joint motion and function
  • Limping
  • Fever
  1. Lupus – affects the skin, muscles, joints, lungs, hearts and kidneys.

Some common symptoms of Lupus include:

  • Achy joints
  • Fever
  • Skin rashes
  • Chest pains (usually when you breathe deeply)
  • Swollen joints.
  1. Coeliac Disease – the immune system reacts to gluten found in foods and causes damage to the small intestine.

Common initial signs of coeliac disease include:

  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease – chronic inflammation of the digestive tract causing diarrhoea or abdominal pain.

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease can include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Reduced appetite.