Autoimmune Diseases: Introduction and Types

One of the basic functions of the immune system is to protect the body by responding to invading microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms by producing antibodies or a type of white blood cells known as sensitised lymphocyte. But what happens when your immune response gets triggered against the cells in your body?

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Under normal circumstances, it is not natural for immune cells to attack the same cells they were designed to protect. However, when such a thing happens, the victim is said to be dealing with an autoimmune disease. In this article, we’ll be introducing you to what autoimmune diseases are, their causes, and a list of all the autoimmune diseases currently in existence.

Overview of the immune system

The immune system is made up of a complex set of cellular chemicals and also soluble protein components that are created to protect the body against foreign invaders such as infectious agents and tumour cells.

Under no circumstance should the immune system response to self-molecules during its fight against foreign substances. Self or foreign molecules which are usually carbohydrates and protein that evoke particular immune responses and known as antigens.

There are immune cells throughout the human body some of them are located in discreetly in capsule organs like the thymus and spleen or as diffuse accumulations of myeloid cells and lymphoid cells as found in the gut or the skin where they are strategically positioned to monitor the entry of any foreign substance. For the immune system to function as required, there is the need for proper interaction in a regulated manner between the immune cells and the cell products.

What are autoimmune diseases?

Autoimmune Diseases

Now that we have a basic understanding of what the immune system is, we can see that an autoimmune disease would only occur when the immune system performs the opposite of the function it was originally designed to achieve.

When the immune system attacks self-molecules, an autoimmune disease occurs because of the breakdown of immunologic tolerance to autoreactive immune cells. In a lot of cases, the event that kicks off the immune response to self-molecules is unidentifiable, but some studies have suggested a connection with environmental and genetic factors as well as some particular types of infections.

Approximately 3% of the population of North America and Europe currently suffer from one type of autoimmune disease or the other a lot of them even have symptoms of multiple disorders. This data provided might be an underestimation because from what we no data for other less common autoimmune diseases and not available.

While autoimmune diseases are not gender specific, it has been discovered that women have a higher chance of developing an autoimmune disease than men. About 75% of people living with autoimmune diseases are females. Even young post-pubescent females have been discovered to be about ten times more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men their age.

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The reason for this is likely that females and castrated males produce lower levels of testosterone and higher levels of oestrogen. It has also been documented that hormones like oestrogen and testosterone may have a hand in altering the immune response however much of the evidence that shows the role extruding plays in autoimmune diseases come from animal models rather than human studies.

What we are trying to say in simpler terms is that normally your immune system can tell the difference between foreign invaders and your own cells. But in the case of an autoimmune disease, your immune system mistakes parts of your body such as your skin or your joints as foreign organisms toss it releases proteins known as autoantibodies to fight against this healthy cells in an attempt to eliminate them. Welcome autoimmune diseases attack a single organ; there are others that attack the entire body. Autoimmune diseases attack women during their childbearing age which is usually from 14 to 44 years.

Some autoimmune diseases can even run in families example of those are multiple sclerosis and lupus. Even though not every member of such a family will necessarily suffer from the same disease each of them will inherit a susceptibility to an autoimmune disease.

The incidence of autoimmune diseases is currently rising at an alarming rate, and for this reason, researchers are beginning to suspect environmental factors such as exposure to chemicals or solvents and also infections might be responsible.

Something else that is suspected to have a hand in causing autoimmune conditions is a western diet. People these days feed on foods containing triggers like high fat and high sugar. Also, highly processed foods are known to cause inflammations which might trigger an immune response. These claims, however, are yet to be proven.

A theory known as the hygiene hypothesis was also created to draw links between a lack of exposure to germs and autoimmune diseases. Because of the existence of antiseptics and vaccines children in today’s world are not exposed to as many gems as children were in the past and because of this lack of exposure their immune system might begin to overreact to harmless substances.

Common symptoms of autoimmune disease

While there are many autoimmune diseases, most of them come with similar early symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • muscle aches
  • low-grade fever
  • swelling and redness
  • trouble with concentration
  • hair loss
  • numbness and tingling in the feet and hands
  • skin rashes

These are just a few of the symptoms that are common with most autoimmune diseases. However, specific diseases might have their own unique symptoms.

list of autoimmune diseases from A to V

  1. Achalasia
  2. Addisons disease
  3. Adult Still’s Disease
  4. Agammaglobulinemia
  5. Alopecia Areata
  6. Amyloidosis
  7. Ankylosing Spondylitis
  8. Anti-GBM/Anti-TBM nephritis
  9. Antiphospholipid syndrome
  10. Autoimmune angioedema
  11. Autoimmune dysautonomia
  12. Autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  13. Autoimmune Hepatitis
  14. Autoimmune inner ear disease
  15. Autoimmune myocarditis
  16. Autoimmune oophoritis
  17. Autoimmune orchitis
  18. Autoimmune pancreatitis
  19. Autoimmune retinopathy
  20. Autoimmunity urticaria
  21. Axonal and neuronal neuropathy
  22. Balo disease
  23. Behcet’s disease
  24. Benign mucosal pemphigoid
  25. Bullous pemphigoid
  26. Castleman disease
  27. Celiac disease
  28. Chagas disease
  29. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  30. Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis
  31. Churg-Strauss syndrome or Eosinophilic granulomatosis
  32. Cicatricial pemphigoid
  33. Cold agglutinin disease
  34. Congenital heart block
  35. Coxsackie myocarditis
  36. Crest syndrome
  37. Crohn’s disease
  38. Dermatitis herpetiformis
  39. Dermatomyositis
  40. Devic’s disease
  41. Discoid lupus
  42. Dressler’s syndrome
  43. Endometriosis
  44. Eosinophilic esophagitis
  45. Eosinophilic fasciitis
  46. Erythema nodosum
  47. Essential mixed cryoglobulinemia
  48. Evans syndrome
  49. Fibromyalgia
  50. Fibrosing alveolitis
  51. Giant cell arteritis
  52. Giant cell myocarditis
  53. Glomerulonephritis
  54. Goodpasture syndrome
  55. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  56. Graves disease
  57. Guillain-barre syndrome
  58. hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  59. hemolytic anaemia
  60. henoch schonlein purpura
  61. herpes gestationis or pemphigoid gestationis
  62. hidradenitis suppurativa
  63. hypogammaglobulinemia
  64. IgA Nephropathy
  65. IgG4-related sclerosing disease
  66. Immune thrombocytopenic purpura
  67. Inclusion body myositis
  68. Interstitial cystitis
  69. Juvenile arthritis
  70. Juvenile diabetes
  71. Juveniles myositis
  72. Kawasaki disease
  73. Lambert-Eaton disease
  74. Leukocytoclastic vasculitis
  75. Lichen planus
  76. Lichen sclerosis
  77. Ligneous conjunctivitis
  78. Linear IgA disease
  79. Lupus
  80. Lyme disease chronic
  81. Meniere’s disease
  82. Microscopic polyangiitis
  83. Mixed connective tissue disease
  84. Mooren’s ulcer
  85. Mucha habermann disease
  86. Multifocal motor neuropathy
  87. Multiple Sclerosis
  88. Myasthenia gravis
  89. Myositis
  90. Narcolepsy
  91. Neonatal lupus
  92. Neuromyelitis optica
  93. Neutropenia
  94. Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid
  95. Palindromic rheumatism
  96. Pandas
  97. Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration
  98. Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
  99. Parry romberg syndrome
  100. Pars planitis
  101. Personage turner syndrome
  102. Pemphigus
  103. Peripheral neuropathy
  104. Perivenous encephalomyelitis
  105. Pernicious anaemia
  106. POEMS syndrome
  107. Polyarteritis nodosa
  108. Polyglandular syndrome type 1
  109. Polyglandular syndrome type 2
  110. Polyglandular syndrome type 3
  111. Polymyalgia rheumatica
  112. Polymyositis
  113. Postmyocardial infarction syndrome
  114. Postpericardiotomy syndrome
  115. Primary biliary cirrhosis
  116. Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  117. Progesterone dermatitis
  118. Psoriasis
  119. Psoriatic arthritis
  120. Pure red cell aplasia
  121. Pyoderma grangrenosum
  122. Raynaud’s phenomenon
  123. Reactive arthritis
  124. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  125. Relapsing polychondritis
  126. Restless legs syndrome
  127. Relapsing polychondritis
  128. Rheumatic fever
  129. Rheumatoid arthritis
  130. Sarcoidosis
  131. Schmidt syndrome
  132. Scleritis
  133. Scleroderma
  134. Sjogren’s syndrome
  135. Sperm and testicular autoimmunity
  136. Subacute bacterial endocarditis
  137. Stiff person syndrome
  138. Susac’s syndrome
  139. Sympathetic ophthalmia
  140. Takayasu’s arteritis
  141. Temporal arteritis or giant cell arteritis
  142. Thrombocytopenic purpura
  143. Tolosa hunt syndrome
  144. Transverse myelitis
  145. Type 1 diabetes
  146. Ulcerative colitis
  147. Undifferentiated connective tissue disease
  148. Uveitis
  149. Vasculitis
  150. Vitiligo
  151. Vogy-Koyanagi-harada disease

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