Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune Diseases: Definition, 14 List, Causes, and Symptoms

Autoimmune diseases are conditions when a person’s immune system attacks the body itself. Normally, the immune system protects the body from attacks of foreign organisms, such as bacteria or viruses. However, in a person suffering from an autoimmune disease, his immune system sees healthy body cells as foreign organisms. So the immune system will release a protein called an autoantibody to attack healthy body cells.

Autoimmune Diseases Definition

Autoimmune diseases are diseases that occur in which the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body. While the immune system, it should serve to protect the body to fight diseases and bad cells, such as bacteria and viruses.

Many impacts will arise if the body is affected by autoimmune diseases. In fact, it has been noted that there are 80 types of autoimmune diseases that show the same symptoms. This creates difficulties, whether a person has this disorder or not, and at what type.

Autoimmune Diseases List

Type 1 diabetes mellitus.

In this condition, the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Rheumatoid arthritis.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system can attack the joints. This then causes complaints such as redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joints of the body.

Read also:
Is Arthritis Hereditary?


Psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply rapidly. These excess cells accumulate and form a scaly red rash on the skin of certain parts of the body.

Multiple sclerosis.

The disease causes damage to the myelin sheath, the protective layer that covering nerve cells. Damage to the myelin sheath can cause signs and symptoms such as taste, weakness, impaired balance, and difficulty walking.

Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Lupus can affect various organs in the body. Some common symptoms in individuals experiencing the condition are pain in the joints, fatigue, and rashes on the skin.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The term is used to describe the condition of the presence of inflammation in the lining of the intestine. The two most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease, which can occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, and ulcerative colitis, which generally affects the colon and rectum.

Addison’s disease.

Addison’s disease can affect the adrenal glands, which produce the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. The lack of these hormones can affect the way the body stores and uses carbohydrates and sugars. Some of the symptoms that can arise are weakness, weight loss, and low blood sugar levels.

Graves’ disease.

Graves’ disease can attack the thyroid gland in the neck and lead to increased production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones function to control the use of energy or metabolism in the body.

Elevated levels of thyroid hormones can cause signs and symptoms such as nervousness, increased heart rate, intolerance to hot air, and weight loss. One of the most common signs of Graves’ disease is the prominent eyeball condition, which is referred to as exophthalmos.

Sjogren’s syndrome.

This condition attacks the joints and glands that provide lubrication of the eyes and mouth. Typical signs of Sjogren’s syndrome are joint pain, dry eyes, and dry mouth.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

In this disease, the production of thyroid hormones decreases. Some of the signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are weight gain, sensitivity to cold air, fatigue, hair loss, and enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Myasthenia Gravis.

Myasthenia Gravis affects the nerves that help the brain to move muscles. When there is damage to those nerves, the signals produced by the brain cannot direct the muscles to move. The most commonly observed symptoms are deteriorating muscle weakness when activity and improving with rest. The condition often involves muscles controlling chewing ability and facial movement muscles.


Vasculitis can occur when the immune system attacks the blood vessels. The inflammation that occurs can narrow the arteries and veins, so the blood flowing through the blood vessels becomes reduced.

Pernicious anemia.

The condition affects proteins referred to as intrinsic factors, which help the intestine to absorb vitamin B12 from food. Without these vitamins, the body cannot produce sufficient amounts of red blood cells. Pernicious anemia is more common in the elderly.

Celiac disease.

Autoimmune Diseases - Celiac Disease

Those with this condition cannot consume foods containing gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and wheat products. When the immune system detects the presence of gluten in the gastrointestinal tract, it attacks it and causes inflammation.

Autoimmune Diseases Causes

It is not yet known what causes autoimmune diseases, but some of the factors below can increase a person’s risk of suffering from this disease:


Some autoimmune diseases generally affect certain ethnicities. For example, type 1 diabetes generally afflicts Europeans, while lupus is prone to occur in African-Americans and Latin Americans.


Women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men. Usually the disease begins during pregnancy.


Exposure from the environment, such as sunlight, chemicals, as well as viral and bacterial infections, can cause a person to contract autoimmune diseases and worsen his condition.

Family history.

Generally autoimmune diseases also affect other family members. Although they are not always affected by the same autoimmune diseases, they are susceptible to other autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune diseases symptoms

As previously described, there are more than 80 diseases classified as autoimmune diseases. Some of them have the same symptoms. In general, the early symptoms of autoimmune diseases include:

  • Pain all over the body. Pain that makes the body like being stabbed.
  • Joint pain. The most frequently attacked parts of the joint are the knee joint, the joint in the wrist, the back of the hand to the knuckles. This pain occurs on both the left and right sides. This pain is also often accompanied by swelling and / or stiffness, making you very painful and difficult to move.
  • Fatigue. Namely excessive and prolonged fatigue, such as running away, making the body’s energy as drained. Even to lift the body out of bed alone feels heavy.
  • There’s a mild fever. When held by others, the body will feel a bit warm, but when checked with a thermometer, the temperature is still normal (at the upper limit), about 37.4–37.5 Celsius degrees.
  • Hair loss is severe.
  • Frequent exposure to canker sores.
  • Brain fog. So-called because the brain at any time is covered in fog, so for a moment a person loses memory, focus, and concentration, whether writing or while talking.

Last Updated on November 6, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team