Autoimmune Diseases, Types and Risk Factors

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Autoimmune Diseases, Types and Risk Factors
Autoimmune Diseases, Types and Risk Factors

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks he althy cells in the body. In fact, the immune system is supposed to be a stronghold for the body against diseases and foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses

This immune disorder can affect various parts of a person's body. So many, recorded that there are 80 types of autoimmune diseases with some of the same symptoms.

This makes it difficult to know whether a person suffers from this disorder or not, and in which type. Meanwhile, the cause of autoimmune disease is still not certain.

Autoimmune Diseases, Types and Risk Factors - Alodokter

The Most Common Autoimmune Diseases

Of the many types of autoimmune diseases, some of the autoimmune diseases below are the most frequently encountered:

1. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that is often encountered. The immune system produces antibodies that attack the lining of the joints.

The result of this antibody attack is inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints. A severe inflammatory reaction can also cause damage to other parts of the body, such as the skin, eyes, and lungs.

If left untreated, this disease will cause permanent damage to the joints. To prevent this, rheumatoid arthritis sufferers will usually be given oral or injectable drugs that function to reduce the activity of the immune system.

2. Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus causes the formation of antibodies that can attack almost all tissues of the sufferer's body.

Some of the body parts that are most often attacked are joints, lungs, kidneys, skin, connective tissue, blood vessels, bone marrow, and nervous tissue.

Until now there is no drug that can cure lupus. Lupus treatment generally aims to suppress the immune system, thereby reducing inflammation and preventing further organ damage.

3. Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes will usually be diagnosed since childhood or young adulthood. This disease is caused by the body's immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas 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 not stopped, this risks causing damage to the kidneys, eyes, brain, heart, or blood vessels.

For the treatment, people with type 1 diabetes will be given insulin injections. In addition, patients are also required to monitor blood sugar levels, apply a he althy diet, and exercise regularly.

4. Multiple sclerosis (MS)

When a person's immune system attacks its own nerve cells, some dire symptoms run the risk of appearing as a result. This condition is commonly known as multiple sclerosis aka MS.

Some of the symptoms that can arise are pain, blindness, impaired body coordination, and muscle spasms. Other symptoms that may arise are tremors, numbness in the leg area, 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 used to help MS patients perform daily activities.

5. Graves' Disease

Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid gland to become overactive. People suffering from this disease may experience various symptoms that can interfere with daily activities.

Difficulty sleeping, easily provoked by emotions, weight loss for no reason, and protruding eyes are some of the symptoms. Other symptoms that may arise are a swollen neck, over-sensitivity to heat, muscle weakness, or tremors.

To treat Graves' disease, the patient may be given radioactive iodine pills. This pill is used to kill the overactive cells of the thyroid gland.

Patients can also be given anti-thyroid drugs, beta blocker hypertension drugs, and corticosteroids. Some cases of Graves' disease require surgical treatment.

6. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a condition where the immune system is overactive, causing the skin to produce faster. This condition is caused by overactive one of the blood cells in the immune system, namely the T-cell.

The accumulation of T-cells in the skin stimulates the skin to grow faster than it should. The main symptoms of psoriasis are the appearance of scaly patches on the skin and flaking of the skin that leaves a shiny white layer.

To deal with this, the doctor will prescribe drugs that suppress the immune system, such as corticosteroids, as well as light therapy.

Risk Factors for Autoimmune Disease

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

  • HeredityThe main risk factor for autoimmune diseases is genetics or heredity. However, this factor is not the only one that can trigger an immune reaction to attack he althy body cells.

  • EnvironmentEnvironmental factors also play a role in triggering autoimmune diseases. Environmental factors include exposure to toxic chemicals, such as asbestos, mercury, cigarette smoke, and an unhe althy diet.

  • Changes in hormonesSome autoimmune diseases often attack women after giving birth. This leads to an assumption that autoimmune diseases are related to hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause.

  • Infection

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

Beware of autoimmune diseases by avoiding the various risk factors above. Immediately consult a doctor if you experience the symptoms of the diseases above. The sooner an autoimmune disease is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is that complications can be avoided.

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