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5 Most Common Autoimmune Diseases

By    |   Friday, 21 August 2015 09:19 PM

Common autoimmune diseases can result from deficiencies in the immune system or an overactive immune system that ends up attacking and damaging the body’s tissues. The immune system often responds to unknown triggers by producing antibodies that attack tissues instead of fending off infection.

The body becomes incapable of distinguishing between healthy tissues and harmful invaders with an autoimmune disease. The reaction from the immune system and other bodily functions is to destroy all tissues, including normal ones. Bacteria, viruses, toxins and drugs may trigger changes that confuse the immune system, according to the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus website.

Here are five of the most common autoimmune diseases:

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1. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis happens when antibodies attach to the linings of joints, WebMD explained. Cells in the immune system then attack the joints. This causes the inflammation, swelling and pain of arthritis. Medications are prescribed to reduce over activity by the immune system. However, treatment often depends on individual cases. Doctors and patients work together to find the best ways for relief of pain, decreasing inflammation, preventing damage to the joints, and getting people back to normal activity.

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease occurs when the lining of the intestines is damaged from attacks by the immune system, WebMD said. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two common forms of IBD. It results in such symptoms as urgent bowel movements, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fever, and weight loss. Immune-suppressing medication helps.

3. Multiple Sclerosis
Known as MS, this gradually debilitating disorder results when nerve cells are attacked, Everyday Health noted. Symptoms include weakness, poor coordination, muscle spasm, pain, tremors, numbness in the extremities, and difficulty speaking. Medication is used to modify symptoms and improve function.

4. Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes means the body cannot produce sufficient levels of insulin. This happens when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, Everyday Health said. Patients take insulin medication and must monitor their insulin levels throughout the day while following a healthy diet.

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5. Graves’ Disease
Graves’ disease causes the thyroid gland to become overly active, according to Everyday Health. There may be no symptoms at all, but the disease often causes insomnia, irritability, sensitivity to heat, muscle weakness, shaky hands, and weight loss. Radioactive iodine medication helps to destroy overactive thyroid cells. Most patients are successfully treated with medication, but some require surgery to remove the overactive thyroid.

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Common autoimmune diseases can result from deficiencies in the immune system or an overactive immune system that ends up attacking and damaging the body's tissues.
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Friday, 21 August 2015 09:19 PM
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