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- Main article: Role of psychological factors in autoimmune disorders
Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body attacks its own cells. Today there are more than 40 human diseases classified as either definite or probable autoimmune diseases, and they affect 5% to 7% of the population. Almost all autoimmune diseases appear without warning or apparent cause, and most patients suffer from fatigue.
The causes of autoimmune diseases are still obscure: Some are thought to be either examples of or precipitated by diseases of affluence. For example, arthritis and obesity are acknowledged to be related, and the World Health Organisation states that arthritis is most common in developed countries. Most autoimmune diseases are probably the result of multiple circumstances, for example, a genetic predisposition triggered by an infection.
Women tend to be affected more often by autoimmune disorders; nearly 79% of autoimmune disease patients in the USA are women. Also they tend to appear during or shortly after puberty. It is not known why this is the case, although hormone levels have been shown to affect the severity of some autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis . Other causes may include the presence of fetal cells in the maternal bloodstream. 
Autoimmune diseases[edit | edit source]
Diseases with a complete or partial autoimmune etiology:
Accepted[edit | edit source]
The "Mesh" column lists those conditions that are classified as autoimmune by the MeSH system.
|Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)||yes||G04.0||is a form of encephalitis caused by an autoimmune reaction and typically occurring a few days or weeks after a viral infection or a vaccination.|
|Addison's disease||yes||E27||is often caused by autoimmune destruction of the adrenal cortex.|
|Ankylosing spondylitis||yes||M08.1, M45.||is a chronic, painful, progressive inflammatory arthritis primarily affecting spine and sacroiliac joints, causing eventual fusion of the spine.|
|Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS)||yes||D68.8||affects the blood-clotting process. It causes blood clots to form in veins and/or arteries.|
|Aplastic anemia||no||D60||is often caused by an autoimmune attack on the bone marrow.|
|Autoimmune hepatitis||no||K75.9||is a disorder wherein the liver is the target of the body's own immune system.|
|Autoimmune Oophoritis||no||N70||is a disorder in which the immune system attacks the female reproductive organs.|
|Coeliac disease||no||K90.0||is a disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the proximal portion of the small intestine caused by exposure to certain dietary gluten proteins.|
|Crohn's disease||no||K50||is a form of inflammatory bowel disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. Major symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhea. There is also evidence supporting the theory that Crohn's Disease is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis.|
|Diabetes mellitus type 1||yes||E10||when it is characterized by a deficiency or absence of insulin production (Type I), is often the consequence of an autoimmune attack on the insulin-producing beta cells in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas.|
|Gestational pemphigoid||no||O26.4||is a pregnancy-related blistering condition where autoantibodies are directed against the skin.|
|Goodpasture's syndrome||yes||M31.0||is a disease characterised by rapid destruction of the kidneys and haemorrhaging of the lungs through autoimmune reaction against an antigen found in both organs.|
|Graves' disease||yes||E05.0||is the most common form of hyperthyroidism, and is caused by anti-thyroid antibodies that have the effect of stimulating (agonist) the thyroid into overproduction of thyroid hormone.|
|Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)||yes||G61.0||is an acquired immune-mediated inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nervous system (i.e., not the brain and spinal column). It is also called acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis, acute idiopathic polyneuritis and Landry's ascending paralysis.|
|Hashimoto's disease||yes||E06.3||is a common form of hypothyroidism, characterised by initial inflammation of the thyroid, and, later, dysfunction and goiter. There are several characteristic antibodies (e.g., anti-thyroglobulin).|
|Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura||yes||D69.3||is an autoimmune disease where the body produces anti-platelet antibodies resulting in a low platelet count|
|Kawasaki's Disease||no||M30.3||is often caused by an autoimmune attack on the arteries around the heart.|
|Lupus erythematosus||yes||L93, M32||is a chronic (long-lasting) autoimmune disease wherein the immune system, for unknown reasons, becomes hyperactive and attacks normal tissue. This attack results in inflammation and brings about symptoms. This is a "Non-organ-specific" type of autoimmune disease.|
|Multiple sclerosis||yes||G35||is a disorder of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) characterised by decreased nerve function due to myelin loss and secondary axonal damage.|
|Myasthenia gravis||yes||G70.0||is a disorder of neuromuscular transmission leading to fluctuating weakness and fatigue. Weakness is caused by circulating antibodies that block (antagonist) acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction.|
|Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (OMS)||n/a||n/a||is a neurological disorder that appears to the result of an autoimmune attack on the nervous system. Symptoms include opsoclonus, myoclonus, ataxia, intention tremor, dysphasia, dysarthria, mutism, hypotonia, lethargy, irritability or malaise. About half of all OMS cases occur in association with neuroblastoma.|
|Optic neuritis||no||H46||is an inflammation of the optic nerve that may cause a complete or partial loss of vision.|
|Ord's thyroiditis||n/a||n/a||is a thyroiditis similar to Hashimoto's disease, except that the thyroid is reduced in size. In Europe, this form of thyroid inflammation is more common than Hashimoto's disease.|
|Pemphigus||yes||L10||is an autoimmune disorder that causes blistering and raw sores on skin and mucous membranes.|
|Pernicious anaemia||no||D51.0||is an autoimmune disorder characterised by anaemia due to malabsorption of vitamin B12|
|Polyarthritis in dogs||n/a||n/a||is an immune reaction severely affecting the joints of dogs. Although rare and of unknown cause it can render a dog immobile even at a very young age. Treatment includes cortisone-type drugs.|
|Primary biliary cirrhosis||no||K74.3||appears to be an autoimmune disease that affects the biliary epithelial cells (BECs) of the small bile duct in the liver. Although the cause is yet to be determined, most of the patients (>90%) appear to have auto-mitochondrial antibodies (AMAs) against pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), an enzyme that is found in the mitochondria.|
|Rheumatoid arthritis||yes||M05-M06||is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body's immune system to attack the bone joints.|
|Reiter's syndrome||no||M02||seems to be an autoimmune attack[How to reference and link to summary or text] on various body systems in response to a bacterial infection and the body's confusion over the HLA-B27 marker|
|Sjögren's syndrome||yes||M35.0||is an autoimmune disorder in which immune cells attack and destroy the exocrine glands that produce tears and saliva.|
|Takayasu's arteritis||no||M31.4||is a disorder that results in the narrowing of the lumen of arteries.|
|Temporal arteritis (also known as "giant cell arteritis")||yes||M31.5||is an inflammation of blood vessels, most commonly the large and medium arteries of the head. Untreated, the disorder can lead to significant vision loss.|
|Warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia||n/a||D59.1||is a disorder characterized by IgM attack against red blood cells|
|Wegener's granulomatosis||no||M31.3||is a form of vasculitis that affects the lungs, kidneys and other organs.|
Suspected[edit | edit source]
Diseases suspected to be linked to autoimmunity are:
- Alopecia universalis is a suspected autoimmune disease in which the body's white blood cells attack hair and result in total baldness.
- Behçet's disease exact cause is unknown in this multi-system condition, where the immune system, predominantly overactive, produces inflammation in bodily tissues, primarily causing vasculitis
- Chagas' disease in the chronic phase is believed to result from homology of a T. cruzi antigen to body tissue, resulting in a delayed autoimmune reaction leading to Chagasic cardiopathy (cardiomegaly), volvulus or constipation, and ultimately death.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder whose primary symptom is usually intense fatigue. Though the syndrome likely has multiple causes, some maintain that autoimmune damage to the brain stem is the principal mechanism in a significant subset of cases.
- Dysautonomia is a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, including such disorders as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Though dysautonomia appears to have multiple causes, post-viral autoimmune damage appears to be a frequent cause.
- Endometriosis is a common medical condition wherein the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) is found outside of the uterus, typically affecting other organs in the pelvis. The condition can lead to serious health problems, primarily pain and infertility.
- Hidradenitis suppurativa is a rare skin disease in which apocrine sweat glands become severely inflamed. Researches have found an improvement in case studies with Remicade and other biologics.
- Interstitial cystitis is a urinary bladder disease characterised by any of the following symptoms, though symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient: pelvic pain, urinary frequency (as often as every 30 minutes, or even fewer), urgency, pain with sexual intercourse, and pain with urination.
- Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. After several months, approximately 60% of patients with untreated infection will begin to have intermittent bouts of arthritis, with severe joint pain and swelling. Large joints are most often effected, particularly the knees. In addition, up to 5% of untreated patients may develop chronic neurological complaints months to years after infection. These include shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, and problems with concentration and short term memory.   
- Neuromyotonia is spontaneous muscular activity resulting from repetitive motor unit action potentials of peripheral origin. It develops as a result of both acquired and hereditary diseases. The acquired form is more frequent and is usually caused by antibodies against neuromuscular junction.
- Psoriasis is a skin disorder in which rapidly-multiplying skin cells produce itchy, scaly inflamed patches on the skin.
- Sarcoidosis is a disease wherein granulomas can form anywhere in the body but particularly in the lungs.
- Schizophrenia is a mental disease characterized by impairments in the perception or expression of reality and by significant social or occupational dysfunction.   
- Scleroderma is a chronic disease characterized by excessive deposits of collagen. Progressive systemic scleroderma, the serious type of the disease, can be fatal. The local type of the disease is not serious.
- Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the bowel that usually affects the distal end of the large intestine and rectum. It has no known cause, although there is a genetic component to susceptibility. Some medical authorities (such as the UK's National Blood Donation Service which refuses donations from Colitis sufferers) class Colitis as an Autoimmune disease.
- Vitiligo is the spontaneous loss of pigment from areas of skin. The pigment-free areas have few or no melanocytes. Researchers have detected anti-melanocyte antibodies in some cases of vitiligo, so it seems likely that at least some instances of this condition are the result of autoimmune problems.
- Vulvodynia is used to describe pain in the vulva, often severe, of unknown cause. "Vulvar vestibulitis" is a related term.
References[edit | edit source]
- Aaseng, Nathan; Franklin Watts Library Edition: Autoimmune Diseases ISBN 0-531-12553-X
[edit | edit source]
Pathology: Immune disorders (primarily D80-D89, 273, 279)
Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome - DiGeorge syndrome - Hyper-IgE syndrome - Common variable immunodeficiency - Complement deficiency (Angioedema) - Sarcoidosis - Hypergammaglobulinemia - Cryoglobulinemia - Paraproteinemia - Immunodeficiency/Primary immunodeficiency
see list of autoimmune diseases
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