What are autoimmune diseases?

Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and damages its own healthy cells, tissues, and organs. There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases that have been identified, each with its own specific set of symptoms and target organs. Some examples of autoimmune diseases include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: a chronic inflammation of the joints that can also affect other parts of the body such as the skin, eyes, and lungs.

  • Lupus: a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect many different parts of the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and heart.

  • Multiple sclerosis: a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system, causing problems with movement, balance, and coordination.

  • Type 1 diabetes: a chronic autoimmune disorder that destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, leading to high blood sugar levels.

  • Celiac disease: an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is consumed.

  • Psoriasis: a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes thick, scaly patches to form on the skin.

  • Graves' disease: an autoimmune disorder that causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone.

Autoimmune diseases are usually treated with immunosuppressive medications, which work by suppressing or modulating the immune response. In some cases, the underlying cause of the autoimmune disorder is unknown.

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