By some estimates, there are more than 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, while the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) includes conditions related to autoimmune disease on their list, which totals more than 100 disorders. Some of these diseases are extremely rare, while others are more common. They all share the same characteristic: the immune system malfunctions, mistakenly attacking healthy tissue. Here’s a look into the most common autoimmune diseases.
The Arthritis Foundation states that there are 1.5 million people in the U.S. with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with women being three times more likely to get it than men. In this condition, the immune system attacks the synovium or lining between joints. Inflammation can also occur in other parts of the body, such as the eyes, heart, and circulatory system.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of arthritis in children under the age of 16. Patients experience joint pain which may persist for only a few months, while others may have it for years. Swelling and stiffness are also common, and larger joints, such as the knees, are often affected.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)
Lupus is notoriously challenging to diagnose because it bears similarities to many other conditions. The inflammation caused by the disease can affect various parts of the body, including the lungs, kidneys, heart, joints, and skin, among others. Fatigue, skin rash, and fever may also occur. An estimated 1.5 million people in the U.S. have lupus, 9 out of 10 of whom are women.
Sometimes, psoriasis may be accompanied by arthritis. Either the joint issues or the skin problems related to psoriasis may appear first. Psoriasis is characterized by red patches covered by silvery scales, which are caused by the body’s immune system creating an overproduction of skin cells. The inflammatory response can then affect the joints, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness. Psoriatic arthritis affects roughly 30% of people with psoriasis.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is the collective term for disorders caused by chronic inflammation of the intestines. Ulcerative colitis is one common form, in which inflammation and ulcers form in the large intestine and rectum. Crohn’s disease is another common form, in which the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed.
If you suffer from any one of the most common autoimmune diseases, contact our care coordinator today to learn more about the options you have.