Autoimmune Disease


What is Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease happens when your immune system, which usually protects you from germs, gets confused and starts attacking your own body. This system, designed to fend off outside germs, sends fighter cells when it detects these invaders. But when you have an autoimmune condition, it can’t tell your own cells apart from these germs. It ends up attacking your own tissues, mistakenly sending out autoantibodies to fight against your own healthy cells.

Some of these diseases focus on just one part of your body, like Type 1 diabetes, which harms the pancreas. Others, such as lupus, can cause problems all over your body.



What Causes Autoimmune Disease? 

Autoimmune diseases arise when the immune system erroneously attacks the body’s own cells, but the exact triggers of this malfunction remain unclear to medical professionals. Some individuals are more predisposed to autoimmune conditions, with women experiencing them at roughly twice the rate of men, particularly during their reproductive years from ages 14 to 44. Ethnicity plays a role as well; for instance, lupus is more prevalent among African-American and Hispanic populations than Caucasians. Family genetics where thought to contribute, with diseases like multiple sclerosis and lupus often seen across family generations, suggesting inherited vulnerability.

The growing prevalence of autoimmune diseases has led researchers to now consider environmental factors, such as infections and chemical exposures, as potential contributors. Our Diet, particularly a Western pattern diet which is unfortunately rich in fats, sugars, and processed foods, has been implicated due to its association with inflammation, which may provoke an immune response particularly for those who have experienced trauma or long term stress. Another hypothesis points to the modern emphasis on cleanliness and sterilization, including widespread vaccination and use of antiseptics, which might reduce exposure to microbes and thus affect immune system development, causing it to overreact to benign substances.

While the precise cause of autoimmune diseases is unknown, lifestyle factors, including diet, infections, and chemical exposure, are thought to be influential. If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, it is advised to consult  nutritional expert who has experience with Autoimmune Disease, such as Claire Russell, a Registered Nutritional Therapist. Such professionals can provide tailored dietary advice, food plans, and recommend specific supplements and lifestyle modifications that may alleviate symptoms of the condition. Along with the additional support of an experienced therapist with proven experience with Autoimmune Disease, this provides invaluable help with your recovery, by dealing with the stresses, trauma PTSD, or lifestyle issues that may have contributed and led to the emotional health and mental health issues suffered.


Common Autoimmune Diseases:


Autoimmune diseases are a diverse group of conditions where the body’s immune system mistakenly targets and attacks its own tissues and organs. There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases, each with its unique characteristics and effects on the body.

10 of the most common autoimmune diseases, with their descriptions and impact

  1. Type 1 Diabetes

    • Description: Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. This results in an insulin deficiency, a hormone essential for regulating blood sugar levels. Without sufficient insulin, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.
    • Impact: Individuals with Type 1 diabetes experience symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and blurred vision. Long-term complications can include heart disease, kidney damage, and nerve damage.
  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

    • Description: Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune condition characterized by the immune system’s attack on the synovium, the lining of membranes surrounding the joints. This immune response leads to persistent inflammation in the joints.
    • Impact: RA results in joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Over time, it can cause joint deformities and affect other organs, leading to systemic symptoms like fatigue and fever.
  1. Psoriasis/Psoriatic Arthritis
    • Description: Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder that accelerates the life cycle of skin cells, causing the rapid buildup of cells on the skin’s surface. This leads to the development of red, raised, and scaly patches known as plaques.
    • Impact: In addition to the physical discomfort and itchiness caused by psoriasis plaques, some individuals with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. This condition leads to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, further affecting mobility and quality of life.
  1. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS damages the myelin sheath — the protective coating that surrounds nerve cells. Damage to the myelin sheath affects the transmission of messages between your brain and body. This damage can lead to symptoms like numbness, weakness, balance issues, and trouble walking. The disease comes in several forms, which progress at different rates.

    • Description: Multiple sclerosis is a complex autoimmune neurological disorder characterized by the immune system mistakenly attacking the myelin sheath, the protective covering of nerve fibers in the central nervous system.
    • Impact: MS symptoms vary widely but can include fatigue, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling, coordination difficulties, and problems with vision. The progression of the disease may be relapsing-remitting or progressive, with potential mobility impairment.
  1. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)

Although doctors in the 1800s first described lupus as a skin disease because of the rash it produces, it actually affects many organs, including the joints, kidneys, brain, and heart. Joint pain, fatigue, and rashes are among the most common symptoms.

    • Description: Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect multiple organs and systems, including the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and heart. It is characterized by the production of autoantibodies.
    • Impact: Lupus presents with diverse symptoms, such as joint pain, skin rashes (butterfly rash), kidney dysfunction, extreme fatigue, and sensitivity to sunlight. Flare-ups and remissions are common, making management challenging.
  1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

    • Description: Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term for two autoimmune conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These disorders lead to chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
    • IBD is a term used to describe conditions that cause inflammation in the lining of the intestines. Each type of IBD affects a different part of the GI tract.
  • Crohn’s disease can inflame any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus.
  • Ulcerative colitis affects only the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
    • Impact: IBD symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and malnutrition. Severe cases may require surgery to manage complications like bowel strictures or fistulas.
  1. Addison’s Disease

    • Description: Addison’s disease, or adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce adequate amounts of cortisol and aldosterone due to autoimmune damage. These hormones are vital for regulating metabolism and managing stress.
    • Impact: Symptoms of Addison’s disease may include weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, weight loss, nausea, and electrolyte imbalances. In severe cases, it can lead to an adrenal crisis, a life-threatening condition.
  1. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

    • Description: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune thyroid disorder where the immune system mistakenly targets and damages the thyroid gland, leading to reduced thyroid hormone production.
    • Impact: Common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, hair loss, and the development of a goitre (enlarged thyroid). Hypothyroidism results, affecting metabolism and energy levels.
  1. Pernicious Anemia

    • Description: Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune condition where the body produces antibodies against intrinsic factor, a protein essential for absorbing vitamin B12 in the intestines.
    • Impact: Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to symptoms like fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and neurological issues such as numbness and tingling in the extremities.
  1. Coeliac Disease

    • Description: Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. This ingestion results in an autoimmune response in the small intestine.

Impact: Symptoms can vary but often include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and nutrient malabsorption. Long-term adherence to a strict gluten-free diet is crucial for managing the SEO Optimization:

Autoimmune disease can significantly impact individuals’ lives, and management of the autoimmune symptoms often involves a multidisciplinary approach with healthcare professional. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are key to improving quality of life

Autoimmune diseases are a significant health concern affecting millions of individuals worldwide. While these 10 conditions are among the most common, it’s essential to recognize the diversity and complexity of autoimmune diseases. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of an autoimmune disease, seeking medical advice and diagnosis is crucial for managing these conditions effectively.

Call to Action: For more in-depth information on each autoimmune disease, treatment options, and coping strategies, explore our comprehensive articles and resources. If you suspect you may have an autoimmune disease, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

Academic Scientific Internet Reference Locations on Autoimmune Disease :

  1. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Autoimmune Diseases
  2. American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
  3. The Lupus Foundation of America
  4. National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  5. American College of Rheumatology
  6. American Gastroenterological Association – Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  7. The Hormone Health Network – Addison’s Disease
  8. American Thyroid Association – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  9. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute – Pernicious Anemia
  10. Celiac Disease Foundation




Academic References on Autoimmune Disease 

  1. Autoimmune diseases: Environmental factors and genetic background as risk factors​​.
  2. The role of nutrition in autoimmune disease prevention and treatment​​.
  3. Nutritional therapy in autoimmune diseases and the control of inflammatory responses​​.
  4. Dietary immunomodulation in autoimmune disease prevention​​.
  5. The expanding role of nutrition in managing autoimmune diseases​​.
  6. Gluten-free diet benefits in non-celiac autoimmune diseases​​.
  7. The influence of nutrition on gut microbiota and its role in autoimmune disease prevention​​.
  8. Anti-inflammatory diet benefits​​.,proposed%20as%20risk%20factors,Inflammatory%20bowel%20disease%20Inflammatory%20cytokines,8%2C%2013,role%20in%20preventing%20autoimmunity%20diseases,17%2C%20Issue%2011%2C%202018,,very%20young%20age%2C%20nutritional,inflammatory%20foods