There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, which affect more than 23 million Americans. Women develop autoimmune diseases more often than men, and there are a few other risk factors. But, largely, scientists don’t understand the cause of autoimmune diseases.
Our highly trained providers at Family Acupuncture and Wellness have helped many patients learn to manage their autoimmune disease symptoms. In this post, we discuss a few examples of autoimmune diseases, some of the symptoms that are common across types, and how we approach treating autoimmune diseases.
Examples of autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases can affect just about any part of your body, and may target a specific organ or your whole body. For example, type 1 diabetes attacks the pancreas, and rheumatoid arthritis can attack your joints, organs, and skin.
Some types of autoimmune diseases appear to have a genetic component and run in families. Multiple sclerosis (MS) tends to run in families, so your risk of developing it is higher if members of your family have MS. The same is true of lupus, which tends to affect African Americans more often. A few other autoimmune diseases include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Addison’s disease
- Grave’s disease
- Sjorgren’s syndrome
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Myasthenia gravis
- Pernicious anemia
- Celiac disease
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
This is an abbreviated list, but it gives you a good idea of how autoimmune diseases can impact just about any part of your body. Interestingly, even though autoimmune diseases can manifest in so many different ways, many of them have common symptoms.
Symptoms of autoimmune diseases
Not everyone with an autoimmune disease experiences the same level of symptoms. Even two people with the same autoimmune disease will not have the same experience. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis have joint pain and swelling, while others have organ damage.
However, people with autoimmune disorders often have similar symptoms. For example, fatigue can be a symptom for most any autoimmune disease. Other symptoms include:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Problems with your skin (dry skin, rashes, etc.)
- Digestive issues
- Swollen glands
Sometimes people have problems getting a diagnosis and that can be because the symptoms across autoimmune diseases can be so similar. Not only that, but these same symptoms are common in a number of other, non-immune-system-related conditions.
We want you to enjoy the best health possible, and we believe that the first steps toward better health involve some basic principles.
Your nutrition can be tuned in to minimize your symptoms. Lowering your overall stress levels can also ease your symptoms.
We take a whole-person approach to health. Your whole body and life matter when it comes to improving your health; we don’t just focus on your symptoms.
When you come to Family Acupuncture and Wellness, you can expect a long consultation. We will talk to you about your symptoms, medical history, family history, diagnoses, medications, your lifestyle, your goals, and much more. We also do blood work and a thorough physical exam.
Only after all of that do we work on devising a treatment plan to address your issue. The plan may have different elements and make use of various modalities like massage therapy or acupuncture.
If you’d like to learn more about a specific autoimmune disease or our approach to providing treatment, schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to answer your questions and learn about your individual circumstances and goals.