Are you constantly tired? Is depression becoming a constant companion? Are your joints aching regularly? These symptoms are typically ignored by sufferers, but they’re all signs of autoimmune diseases.
What Are Autoimmune Diseases?
Our immune systems are the warriors in our bodies. They fight off attacks from intruders like bacteria and viruses. However, when a person has an autoimmune disease, their immune system stops protecting the body from intruders, and attacks it instead. The end result is a body that’s constantly locked in battle against the very system that’s designed to protect it!
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise. While experts are unsure as to what’s caused the increase, they believe that genetics, environment and infections are at the root of the increase. Here are a few of the most common autoimmune disorders and their symptoms.
The Six Most Common Autoimmune Diseases
- Rheumatoid arthritis – More than one million Americans have this incurable disorder, about 75 percent of which are women. Symptoms include pain in the wrists and fingers, tender joints, fatigue, fever and morning pain.
- Type 1 diabetes – In this type of diabetes, autoantibodies target the cells of the pancreas. Symptoms of this disorder include excessive thirst, frequent urination, vision difficulties, weight loss, yeast infections and fatigue.
- Lupus – Another disease that affects women more frequently than men, lupus is difficult to diagnose because of the variety of symptoms that accompany it. Bruising, shortness of breath, swollen joints, hair loss, anemia and fever are just a few signs that you could have lupus.
- Inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two conditions that attack the body’s digestive system. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in the stool, anemia, fever and night sweats are some of the dangerous signs of IBD.
- Sjogren’s syndrome – While you probably haven’t heard of this disease, more than four million Americans have it. Dry mouth and eyes are the hallmark of this syndrome, but it also includes cough, joint pain, difficulty swallowing, fatigue and frequent cavities.
- Multiple sclerosis – MS is the result of the immune system attacking the spinal cord, optic nerves and the brain. Symptoms include depression, numbness in the extremities, tremors, dizziness and difficulty balancing.
While there is no cure for these autoimmune diseases at this time, treatment is available. One of the most important things you can do is to seek out treatment right away if you’re displaying the symptoms of an autoimmune disease. Early treatment is important for managing symptoms and maintaining the quality of life that you’re accustomed to. Talk to your chiropractic team if you think you may be suffering from an autoimmune disease. They’ll be able to develop a treatment plan to help reduce your symptoms.
Photo credit: Old woman’s hands tucked between her legs by Horia Varlan. Used under a Creative Commons license.
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