An autoimmune disease can sometimes be fatal and knowing what it is, how it affects the body and the list of fatal autoimmune diseases is of vital importance to safeguard ourselves from the malfunctioning immune system that kills our antibodies.
What Is An Autoimmune Disease?
In the simplest sense, the immune system attacks its own antibodies produced in the body in place of attacking the intruders or foreign cells. A normal immune system can differentiate between the foreign cells and antibodies, however, when a person is affected with an autoimmune disease the body builds a defense against its own cells and starts attacking body parts like skin or joints. In this condition, it produces autoantibody-a kind of protein that attacks healthy cells.
How Autoimmune Diseases Affect Life Expectancy?
With more than 100 types of autoimmune diseases, it is quite natural that few may affect the life expectancy and when having one or more disease symptoms the chances of decreased life are high. In general, young people can cope with autoimmunity while aged people usually after 60 can easily fall prey to autoimmunity as per reports. The findings have also said that an autoimmune person’s life span is about 10-year less than a healthy person.
Autoimmune Disease Symptoms
The early signs and symptoms of most of these diseases are very much identical like;
- Aching muscles
- Redness and swelling
- Slight fever
- Trouble focusing
- Tingling sensation and numbness in feet and hands
- Skin rashes
- Hair loss
There are also few unique symptoms for some diseases for instance, the symptoms of type 1 diabetes consist of weight loss, extreme thirst, and fatigue. And coming to IBD belly pain, diarrhea, and bloating are unique symptoms.
A symptom period is known as a flare-up and the period when the symptoms ward off is known as remission.
With autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis and RA, symptoms could appear and disappear.
List Of Fatal Autoimmune Diseases
The following are the list of fatal autoimmune diseases and there are 14 most common and fatal autoimmune diseases;
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- The systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Addison’s disease
- Graves’ disease
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Myasthenia gravis
- Autoimmune vasculitis
- Pernicious anemia
- Celiac disease
How To Diagnose Autoimmune Diseases?
There is no single test that can diagnose most of the autoimmune diseases. A doctor should take multiple tests besides a physical examination. Post the tests he/she will review the reports and based on the symptoms the kind of autoimmune disease is determined.
The antinuclear antibody test (ANA) is most of the time the initial test the doctors rely upon to confirm the presence of some autoimmune disorder. Based on the results further tests are carried on to specify the disorder type. A doctor may also carry some nonspecific tests to know the type of inflammation these diseases are producing in the body.
Autoimmune Disease Treatment
Treatments cannot cure autoimmunity but can control the hyperactive immune response and lessen the inflammation or at the maximum lower pain. The common drugs include;
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Immune-suppressing drugs
There are drugs and treatments that target relieving symptoms such as swelling, pain, fatigue, and rashes on the skin.
Eating a balanced diet, regular exercising will help these drugs to be more effective. One should also stick to an autoimmune disease anti-inflammatory diet if inflammation is persistent.
When To See A Doctor?
Seeing a doctor is a must if you experience rare autoimmune diseases like Grave’s Disease or Psoriasis in addition to the autoimmune disease symptoms. Based on the type of disorder visiting a specialist may be needed.
- Rheumatologists treat rheumatoid arthritis, joint pains, Sjögren’s syndrome, and SLE.
- Gastroenterologists treat GI tract diseases like Crohn’s disease and celiac.
- Endocrinologists treat glands, Graves’ disease, Addison’s disease, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Dermatologists treat skin ailments like psoriasis.
Autoimmune Disease Diet
Diet has an important role in fighting autoimmunity as improper foods can easily increase the autoimmunity level. Usually avoiding coffee, sugar, grains, alcohol, red meat, fish, soy and dairy products is best as these act as allergens. The best foods to eat if you have one of the autoimmune diseases are these;
- Halibut-3 ounce serving if you have RA, lupus and multiple sclerosis
- Turmeric, it has curcumin and is highly effective to treat inflammation in general
- Sauerkraut-rich in probiotics and helps in intestinal related immunity disorders
- Broccoli is rich in antioxidants called glutathione which increases the stress-fighting ability
- Wild Alaskan Salmon good to fight ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and others
Have a cup of green tea along with these and you will have the best diet to fight autoimmunity. There’s also an autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet which is gaining momentum consult your doctor before going for it, especially if you have 1 or more disorders from the list of fatal autoimmune diseases.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.