Autoimmune disorders are a complex set of diseases caused by an overactive immune response. In healthy people, the immune system defends your body against threats such as viruses and bacteria. In autoimmune disorders, the immune response is triggered in such a way that your body no longer recognizes your own tissues and instead attacks it as if it were a threat. There are roughly 80 recognized autoimmune diseases, including:
Stem Cell For Autoimmune Disorders
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common disorder that causes chronic inflammation, swelling, redness, loss of function, fatigue, fever, rheumatoid nodules, and pain in affected joints. While it can strike at any age, it is especially prevalent in mature females. Affecting joints such as knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, and hips, rheumatoid arthritis can also involve the skin and eyes. People suffering from RA will often experience periods of remission and flare-ups. Left untreated, RA can cause extensive joint damage, debilitating pain, and joint deformity.
Myasthenia gravis is a chronic neuromuscular disease characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue. The condition is known to wax and wane. In myasthenia gravis, the natural immune system is overactive, targeting essential receptor sites for acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter. In some cases, patients experience as much as an 80% decline in receptors. This means that the voluntary muscles, which rely on nerve conduction signals and acetylcholine, are blocked, leading to a loss of muscle function.
Autoimmune hepatitis is caused by an overactive immune response which inflames and irritates the liver. It is frequently associated with disorders such as: systemic lupus, Graves thyroid disease, Crohn’s, celiac disease, Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma. Common symptoms include excessive fatigue, itching, abdominal distention, loss of appetite, joint pain, nausea, skin rashes, dark colored urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are bowel related autoimmune disorders. While both are considered as an inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, there are some key differences in the way that they present. In the case of Crohn’s disease, inflammation can occur anywhere along the entire digestive tract, which runs from the mouth to the anus. Additionally, in Crohn’s disease, the inflammation can occur at every layer of the bowel wall, as opposed to ulcerative colitis, in which only the inner lining of the colon (large intestine) is affected. Symptoms include diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain and cramping, and rectal bleeding, among others.
Alopecia Areata (also called spot baldness) is a genetically related condition in which the body attacks hair follicles, causing them to fall out in round, non-scarring patches. It is very unpredictable, and can range from mild to severe, and may involve sections of scalp, the entire scalp or the entire body. The condition can worsen or spontaneously improve on its own. Related conditions include lichen planus and lichen planopilaris.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a complex disease state that is really more of a collection of related autoimmune disorders that attack otherwise healthy tissues such as skin, joints, the kidneys, heart, and other body systems. During periods of activity (flares), it may be accompanied by a “butterfly rash” on the face, chest pain, mouth ulcers, hair loss, swollen joints, fatigue, fever, and other symptoms. Systemic lupus causes the body to develop antibodies to its own tissues as if they were foreign invaders. SLE can be difficult to both diagnose and treat.
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