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Autoimmune Disease Means the Body Strikes Ourselves

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body's immune system attacks healthy cells in the body. In fact, the immune system should be a stronghold for the body in fighting foreign diseases and cells, such as bacteria and viruses.

This immune disorder can affect many parts of a person's body. So much, there are 80 types of autoimmune diseases with some of the same symptoms. This makes it difficult for someone to know whether they have this disorder or not, and which type. Meanwhile, the cause of autoimmune diseases is still uncertain.

The Most Common Autoimmune Diseases

Of the many types of autoimmune diseases, some of the following autoimmune diseases are often encountered, including:

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that is often encountered. The immune system produces antibodies that attack the joint lining. As a result of this antibody attack is inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints. Severe inflammatory reactions can also cause damage to other body parts, such as the skin, eyes, and lungs.

If not treated, this disease will cause permanent damage to the joints. To prevent it from worsening, people with rheumatoid arthritis will usually be given a drink or injection drug which serves to reduce the activity of the immune system.


Another autoimmune disease that we often hear is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or what we commonly call lupus. This disease causes the formation of antibodies which actually attack almost all the body tissues of the sufferer. Some of the body parts most often attacked are joints, lungs, kidneys, skin, connective tissue of the body, blood vessels, bone marrow, and nerve tissue. Until now there is no cure for lupus. Treatment of lupus generally aims to suppress the immune system, thereby reducing inflammation and preventing further organ damage.

Type 1 diabetes

This disease will usually be diagnosed from childhood or young adulthood. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an attack of the immune system on pancreatic cells that have the task of producing insulin. This causes disruption of insulin production so that the body is unable to control blood sugar levels.

If this is not stopped, the risk of causing damage to various organs, such as the kidneys, eyes, brain, heart or blood vessels. For treatment, type-1 diabetics will be given an injection of insulin. In addition, sufferers are also required to monitor blood sugar levels, apply a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.

Read Also : Type 1 diabetes: Symptoms, Cause, Prevention and Treatment

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

When a person's immune system attacks the nerve cells themselves, some terrible symptoms are at risk. This condition is commonly called multiple sclerosis. Some symptoms that can arise are pain, blindness, body coordination disorders, and muscle spasm. Other symptoms that may arise are tremors, numbness in the area of the legs, paralysis, difficulty speaking, or difficulty walking.

To treat it, certain drugs can be used to suppress the immune system. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy can be done to help MS patients in carrying out daily activities.

Graves' disease

Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid gland to become overactive. People who suffer from this disease will likely experience a variety of symptoms that can interfere with their daily activities. Difficulty sleeping, easily ignited by emotions, weight loss without cause, and prominent eyes are some of the symptoms. Other symptoms that may arise are too sensitive to heat, weak muscles, tremors (trembling hands), and menstrual disorders.

To treat Graves' disease, sufferers will likely be given radioactive iodine pills. This pill is used to kill overactive thyroid gland cells. Patients can also be given anti-thyroid drugs, beta blockers, and corticosteroids. Some cases of Graves' disease need to be treated with a surgical procedure.


Psoriasis is an overactive condition of the immune system that causes the skin to experience chronic conditions. This condition is caused by one of the blood cells in the immune system that is too active, the T-cell. T-cell gathering in the skin stimulates the skin to grow faster than it should. Symptoms of psoriasis are spots on the skin that are scaly and exfoliating, leaving a glossy white coating. To handle this, doctors will provide immune system suppressants, such as corticosteroids, as well as light therapy.

Inflammatory bowel disease

The immune system that attacks the intestinal lining is called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), because it can cause chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. This disease can appear with symptoms of diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent bowel movements, abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, and fatigue.

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common forms of intestinal inflammation. Symptoms of Crohn's disease are accompanied by oral ulcers, while symptoms of ulcerative colitis are often accompanied by difficulty defecating.

Some Risk Factors Affected by Autoimmune Disease

So far the cause of autoimmune diseases is still unknown. However, there are several factors that cause a person more at risk of suffering from autoimmune diseases, namely:

Genetic or offspring

The main risk factors for autoimmune diseases are genetic factors. However, this factor is not the only one that can trigger an immune response.


Environmental factors are important in the emergence of autoimmune diseases. Environmental factors include exposure to certain substances such as asbestos, mercury, silver and gold, and unhealthy eating patterns.

Hormonal changes

Some autoimmune diseases often attack postpartum women. This leads to the presence of an assumption that autoimmune diseases are related to hormonal changes, for example during pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause.


Some autoimmune diseases are often associated with infection. This is reasonable because some symptoms of autoimmune diseases are exacerbated by certain infections.

Although the cause of autoimmune disease is still unknown, but we can be aware of various risk factors above. Immediately consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of the above diseases. The sooner it is known, the more likely it is to be able to prevent complications from autoimmune diseases.



  1. Jorg, et al. NCBI (2016). Environmental Factors in Autoimmune Diseases and Their Role in Multiple Sclerosis. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences.
  2. US National Library of Medicine Medline Plus (2018). Autoimmune Disease.
  3. US National Library of Medicine Genetics Home Reference (2018). Systemic lupus erythematosus.
  4. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology AAAAI (2017). The Genetics of Allergy and Autoimmune Diseases Suggest Shared Disease Pathways.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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