5 Things You Should Know About Autoimmune Diseases

Even though autoimmune diseases tend to be chronic, those diagnosed with one of these diseases shouldn't lose hope. There are a multitude of approaches to help you understand them and improve your quality of life.
5 Things You Should Know About Autoimmune Diseases
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

The majority of autoimmune diseases tend to be a mystery for science. Even today, we don’t know why the immune system attacks the cells of its own body to the point of destroying them. Learn more about autoimmune diseases from this article.

Ailments such as multiple sclerosis, Crohns disease, and rheumatoid arthritis are some serious examples of these diseases. In many cases, a genetic predisposition tends to be a determinant, even though environmental factors must also be taken into account.

People who live with the daily reality of these autoimmune diseases see their quality of life diminish drastically. These are diseases that tend to be chronic and at the same time affect various parts of the body.  One example is lupus.

In this article, we’re going to discuss 5 things you should know about autoimmune diseases in order to better understand it.

If you have one of these conditions or know someone who does, don’t be afraid to find out new information and medical advances for living a better life.

Things You Should Know About Autoimmune Diseases

1. The causes of autoimmune diseases

First of all, it’s important to remember that genes do play a major role in these conditions. The interaction between the environment and some genes is known to determine whether or not the condition appears. However, this correlation is not 100%.

This theory is based on intestinal permeability.  This is an abnormality in this organs that allows certain antigens to pass from the intestine to the bloodstream.

The immune response is altered and provokes what is perceived as “enemy tissue” to some of our organs,  to the point of attacking and destroying them.

Discover: What You Should Know About Lupus

Germs that cause autoimmune diseases

2.  More and more diseases are associated with the autoimmune system

The fact that scientists diagnose more and more allergies doesn’t mean that there are necessarily more cases. This means that there are more improved methods to identify ailments. We used to identify these as simple allergies or other conditions. Here are some of the other things that have changed regarding our understanding of these diseases:

  • Today, we recognize that autoimmune diseases imply a significant health problem.  It’s necessary to give these patients a voice so they can find more social support.
  • Science now gives us better ways of understanding the autoimmune process.  It now studies weaknesses and symptoms associated with various groups of chronic diseases.
  • Many children now get an adequate early diagnosis to treat autoimmune diseases as soon as possible.

3. Types of autoimmune diseases

We can divide these diseases into two different categories:

  • Systemic diseases do not just attack one organ, but may attack several, which happens in the case of celiac disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • Localized syndromes: Involve one tissue in particular.  This tissuecan be dermatological, hematological, or endocrinological. Among these we find Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and colitis.

4.   Treatment of autoimmune diseases

As previously mentioned, the majority of these diseases do not have a cure.  We are dealing with diseases that we need to learn to come to terms with and get help from professionals.

See also: Treatment and symptoms of Crohn’s disease

That’s why it’s necessary to know more about autoimmune diseases and how to approach them:

  • Alleviate the symptoms with an adequate treatment.
  • Conserve organs and their function, which  includes the intestines, the liver, and the skin.  It’s crucial to fight to maintain your integrity and your quality of life as much as possible.
  • Try new treatments and keep up to date with medical advances, discoveries and strategies.

5. Remember that you’re not alone

Hand on a heart of roses

Living with lupus or with multiple sclerosis is not easy for the patient or the family. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • In order to survive these difficult personal circumstances it’s necessary to treat the disease using various approaches.
  • In addition, medical treatment should definitely include psycho-social treatment.  You should know that you are not alone. There are various groups to support and above all, understand you.
  • Support groups are essential in these cases.  They also help us to better understand the disease. These groups help you to discover new perspectives and find cases like yours. Above all, they also help you to keep up with advances and with treatments.

While they may be very difficult to live with, these illnesses can also cause us to live a different and more fulfilling life, take better care of ourselves, and make us fight for our quality of life and dignity. Remember that you are not alone.

Science is continuing to take care of you and offer you the best.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Casals, M. R. (2005). Enfermedades autoinmunes sistémicas y reumatológicas. Elsevier España.
  • Roitt, I. M., Brostoff, J., & Male, D. K. (1994). Inmunología (No. 574.29 ROIi 3a. ed). Ediciones Científicas y Técnicas.
  • Sánchez Segura, M., González García, R. M., Marsán Suárez, V., & Macías Abraham, C. (2006). Asociación entre el estrés y las enfermedades infecciosas, autoinmunes, neoplásicas y cardiovasculares. Revista Cubana de Hematología, Inmunología y Hemoterapia, 22(3), 0-0.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.