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Autoimune disease (hypersensitivity reactions) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Autoimune disease?

An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.

The immune system normally guards against germs like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.

Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells.

In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body, like your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.

Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. Type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), affect the whole body.

Autoimune disease is also known as hypersensitivity reactions. Autoimune disease belongs under the category of Auto imune disease. Type 1 diabetes,Rheumatoid arthritis (RA),Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis,Multiple sclerosis,Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE),Inflammatory bowel disease,Addison?s disease,Graves? disease,Sjögren?s syndrome,Hashimoto?s thyroiditis,Myasthenia gravis,Autoimmune vasculitis,Pernicious anemia,Celiac disease are some common types of Autoimune disease. Generally Male, Female are the victim of the Autoimune disease. Seriousness of this disease is Low.

Symptoms of Autoimune disease are :

  • hair loss
  • Swollen glands
  • Recurring fever
  • pain, numbness in hand and fingure
  • Swelling
  • abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain has many potential causes. The most common causes ? such as gas pains, indigestion or a pulled muscle ? usually aren't serious. Other conditions may require more-urgent medical attention.

    While the location and pattern of abdominal pain can provide important clues, its time course is particularly useful when determining its cause.

    Acute abdominal pain develops, and often resolves, over a few hours to a few days. Chronic abdominal pain may be intermittent, or episodic, meaning it may come and go. This type of pain may be present for weeks to months, or even years. Some conditions cause progressive pain, which steadily gets worse over time.

  • Skin rash
  • Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is an irritating and uncontrollable sensation that makes you want to scratch to relieve the feeling. The possible causes for itchiness include internal illnesses and skin conditions.

    It?s important to see a doctor for itchiness if the cause isn?t obvious. A doctor can find the underlying cause and provide treatments for relief. Several home remedies such as over-the-counter creams and moisturizers work well for itching.

  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Weakness

    Weakness is when strength is decreased and extra effort is needed to move a certain part of the body or the entire body. Weakness is due to loss of muscle strength. Weakness can be a big part of why cancer patients feel fatigue.

    Fatigue

    Fatigue is an extreme feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, often described as being exhausted. Fatigue is something that lasts even when a person seems to be getting enough sleep. It can have many causes, including working too much, having disturbed sleep, stress and worry, not having enough physical activity, and going through an illness and its treatment.

  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Joints are the parts of your body where your bones meet. Joints allow the bones of your skeleton to move. Joints include:

    • shoulders
    • hips
    • elbows
    • knees

    Joint pain refers to discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body?s joints. Joint pain is a common complaint. It doesn?t typically require a hospital visit.

    Sometimes, joint pain is the result of an illness or injury. Arthritis is also a common cause of joint pain. However, it can also be due to other conditions or factors.

    Causes

    Autoimune disease can be caused due to:

    The exact reason that some children's immune systems begin attacking their own bodies is still a mystery. We do know that autoimmune diseases are not contagious, and they don't appear to be caused by any one thing in particular. Instead, scientists believe there's a multi-step process at work:

    • Heredity: Certain genes passed down by parents make some children susceptible to an autoimmune disease.
    • Environmental factors: An autoimmune disease may not reveal itself until it's triggered by something like an infection or exposure to certain toxins or drugs.
    • Hormonal factors: Given that many autoimmune diseases tend to affect adolescent girls and young women, certain female hormones may also play a role in when these illnesses flare up.

    Researchers are now working to discover which genes are involved and how they interact.

    What kind of precaution should be taken in Autoimune disease?

    A previously unknown safety mechanism in our immune system keeps the body free from autoimmune diseases. Researchers from Karolinska Institutet have discovered that a cell in our inherited immune system can prevent our adaptive (learned) immune system from reacting to the body's native cells, which can otherwise lead to autoimmune diseases such as SLE. The study is published in the academic journal Nature Immunology.

    Autoimmune diseases and allergies, in which the immune system triggers an immunological reaction in sufferers, are becoming increasingly common. In some cases, such as the rheumatic disease SLE, the immune system reacts to the body's own cells. One of the most important components of our learned (adaptive) immune system is the white blood cells called B lymphocytes, which are one of the main causal factors of many autoimmune diseases, including SLE, since it is these cells that start to react to the body's native structures, giving rise to the symptoms.

    If you have a weakened immune system, you can safely receive most vaccines recommended for travelers. However, the vaccines may be less effective than in people with fully healthy immune systems. Your doctor may recommend blood tests to confirm that a vaccine you received will provide you with adequate protection against disease, or suggest additional precautions to keep you safe.

    How it can be spread?

    We do know that autoimmune diseases are not contagious, and they don't appear to be caused by any one thing in particular

    Treatment for the Autoimune disease

    Diagnosis of Autoimune disease:

    No single test can diagnose most autoimmune diseases. Your doctor will use a combination of tests and a review of your symptoms and physical examination to diagnose you.

    The antinuclear antibody test (ANA) is often one of the first tests that doctors use when symptoms suggest an autoimmune disease. A positive test means you may have one of these diseases, but it won?t confirm exactly which one you have or if you have one for sure.

    Other tests look for specific autoantibodies produced in certain autoimmune diseases. Your doctor might also do nonspecific tests to check for the inflammation these diseases produce in the body.

    BOTTOM LINE: A positive ANA blood test may be indicative of an autoimmune disease. Your doctor can use your symptoms and other tests to confirm the diagnosis.

    Other tests:

    • ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test
    • Autoantibodies(American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
    • Blood Test: Immunoglobulin A (IgA)
    • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Test
    • Complement Test
    • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
    • Immunofixation (IFE) Blood Test
    • Immunoglobulins Blood Test
    • Pharmacogenetic Tests

    Treatment for Autoimune disease:

    Treatments can?t cure autoimmune diseases, but they can control the overactive immune response and bring down inflammation or at least reduce pain and inflammation. Drugs used to treat these conditions include:

    • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn)
    • immune-suppressing drugs

    Treatments are also available to relieve symptoms like pain, swelling, fatigue, and skin rashes.

    Eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise may also help you feel better.

    BOTTOM LINE: The main treatment for autoimmune diseases is with medications that bring down inflammation and calm the overactive immune response. Treatments can also help relieve symptoms.

    Possible complication with Autoimune disease

    Having one autoimmune disease increases the risk of having another one, or in some cases, two or more. In addition, autoimmune diseases can potentially put you at risk for serious complications. These include:

    Heart Disease

    Conditions that cause inflammation, such as lupus, scleroderma, and RA, can lead to the hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart disease.25?

    Mood Disorders

    Chronic pain and fatigue?the hallmarks of many autoimmune disorders?are often associated with mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

    Neuropathy

    Nerve damage, or neuropathy, can develop in those with autoimmune disorders. Common conditions associated with neuropathy include rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis

    If you have RA or MS, or another condition that causes you to be sedentary or in need of a wheelchair, you are at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, in which blood clots form in the legs; in some cases, these clots can travel to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism.

    Organ Damage

    Autoimmune diseases that attack specific organs can ultimately cause significant damage if not treated properly. Autoimmune hepatitis, for example, can lead to liver damage. Type 1 diabetes can cause kidney problems and damage to the retina; in the worst case, retinal damage can lead to vision impairment and loss.

    Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to minimize the risk of complications specifically associated with your condition(s).

    References:

    1 https://www.healthline.com/health/autoimmune-disorders#treatment 2 https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/autoimmune-diseases 3 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000816.htm 4 https://medlineplus.gov/autoimmunediseases.html#cat_92 5 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-are-common-symptoms-of-autoimmune-disease 6 https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/conditions/autoimmune/index.cfm 7 https://www.aarda.org/diseaselist/ 8 https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2017/03/28/5-serious-complications-can-arise-autoimmune-disease/ 9 https://www.verywellhealth.com/autoimmune-disease-symptoms-3232847#complications

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