Even with today's technology, doctors still do not fully understand autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are hard to diagnose and are often misdiagnosed. So what is happening in the body when someone has an autoimmune disease? Put simply, the body does not recognize itself and the immune system reacts, beginning to protect itself against, or attack what it believes is a foreign pathogen.
One of the reasons it is hard to diagnose is because there are many factors that effect the development of an these types of diseases. The only effective way to diagnose this type of disorder is to do a blood test. Some factors that determine whether a person develops an autoimmune disorder are gender, age, genetics, and environmental factors. Research on environmental factors is a continuing process. Women, even though their immune systems are said to be stronger than their male counter parts, are more likely to develop these diseases. The most common side effect of an autoimmune disease is infection. Other side effects are weakness, hives, swollen joints, weight changes, fever, and pain.
Autoimmune diseases are known to attack many parts of the body, such as skin, joints, blood vessels, tissue, and major organs. Some well-known autoimmune diseases are lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Lupus effects the healthy tissue and organs. Ankylosing spondylitis effects the spine and pelvic joints. Crohn's disease effects the gastrointestinal tract. Rheumatoid arthritis effects many of the smaller joints of body, such as wrist and hand joints for example. Some of these diseases can range from mild to life threatening or debilitating to the individual suffering from the disease. Diseases like these can only be treated but not cured and are typically chronic illnesses. Most autoimmune disorders are treated with medication that helps decrease the activity of the overactive immune system. Medication that help treat the symptoms can be used also.
Source by Lynn Pszyk