May 7, 2009

Common Autoimmune Diseases List

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Autoimmune diseases are caused by the overreaction of an individual’s immune system. The immune system provides the body with protection from threats such as parasites, bacteria, fungus and viruses. In the case of an autoimmune disease, the body mistakes normal body tissue to be a threat and attacks it. Some autoimmune diseases involve the destruction of a particular type of tissue. This is seen in Goodpasture’s disease when the immune system targets the basement membrane of both the lungs and kidneys. In other cases, the focus may be restricted only to certain organs such as in the case of thyroiditis.

There are 80 recognized autoimmune diseases. Continuous ongoing research helps to differentiate, recognize and classify new autoimmune diseases. The most common autoimmune diseases are listed below.

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: This is a chronic thyroditis condition that afflicts the thyroid gland, which is necessary for the production of hormones that regulate our body’s usage of energy or metabolism. It often results in hypothyroidism.
  • Grave’s Disease: Like Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease also affects the thyroid function. Unlike Hashimoto’s, where there is a reduced thyroid function or hypothyroidism, this results in overactivity or hyperthyroidism.
  • Pernicious Anemia: This is a condition in which there is a decrease in red blood corpusels resulting from an inability to absorb vitamin B12 in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis: This is a condition wherein the autoimmune system begins to attack the liver cells. This can be fatal if neglected leading to cirrhosis and even liver failure.
  • Type I Diabetes or Juvenile Onset Diabetes: This is a chronic disease resulting from an inability of the pancreas to maintain production of insulin necessary to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is a common condition that is characterized by a painful inflammation and swelling of the joints and tissues in the surrounding region. In some cases it may even affect other organs. This can be a debilitating condition if not treated appropriately.
  • Celiac Disease: Gluten intolerance is the characteristic of this disorder, and consumption of gluten products and some other proteins in foods like wheat or rye cause damage to the small intestine’s lining.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: This is a progressive disease that affects the central nervous system. It causes damage to the nerves, slowing down or completely disrupting nerve impulses.
  • Alopecia Areata: This condition is also known as spot baldness because of its affect of bald spots. It can cause hair loss anywhere on the body but is most common on the scalp. It begins in spots, which is why it has the alternate name.
  • Crohn’s Disease: This disease is characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract caused by the immune system attacking it. It can afflict any part of the tract right from the mouth to the anus.

These are just a few of the common autoimmune diseases, but there are plenty of others, with varying degrees of severity like Dermatomyositis, Goodpasture’s syndrome, Lupus erythematosus, Systemic Lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, and Vitiligo to name a few. What is common among all of these diseases is that they all get progressively worse if neglected and not treated promptly. While there is no cure for autoimmune diseases effective treatment, home remedies and lifestyle modification can help overcome and restrict the condition.