Frequently Asked Questions

It simply disease conditions that occur when the immune system gets confused and attacks healthy parts (organs and cells) of the body.

Particular autoimmune disorders are frequently classified into organ-specific disorders and systemic types. Autoimmune processes can have various results, for example, slow destruction of a specific type of cells or tissue, stimulation of an organ into excessive growth, or interference in its function. Organs and tissues frequently affected include the endocrine gland, such as thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal glands; components of the blood, such as red blood cells; and the connective tissues, skin, muscles, and joints.

In organ-specific disorders, the autoimmune process is directed mostly against one organ. Examples, with the organ affected, include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (thyroid gland), pernicious anemia (stomach), Addison’s disease (adrenal glands), and type 1 diabetes (pancreas).

In systemic disorders, autoimmune activity can affect multiple organs of the body. Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), and dermatomyositis.

Anyone and everyone with an immune system is at risk. Though women of childbearing age are more commonly affected. Individuals of any age and either sex may be affected by an autoimmune disease. Some autoimmune diseases such  as rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases of the thyroid gland are most commonly seen in older individuals. However, many of the autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis are most common in women between the ages of twenty to forty

The answer to this question is not yet fully available. It is likely that hormones play an important role, but a number of other factors have been implicated. It should be noted that while most autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in women, a few such as Type 1 diabetes, ankylosing spondylitis and autoimmune myocarditis are actually more common in men. It seems likely, therefore, that there will be multiple reasons for the sex related bias in autoimmune disease.

No. It cannot be transmitted from person to person by sharing anything, neither is it airborne.

 No. but because of the nature of some autoimmune diseases people may assume it is spiritual. It is not.

Neither is it entirely hereditary. You can’t passed it on to your child. The chances of doing that is about 5%, though because of a similar genetic that is shared in a family, you are likely to see other autoimmune diseases which may not necessarily be the same in each person. This tendency may be large or small depending on the disease but, in general, close relatives are more likely to develop  a related autoimmune disease. A number or genes have been connected with causing autoimmune disease, primarily genes related to the human major histocompatibility complex called HLA.

The exact cause has not been found out yet, but many factors could trigger it.  It is believed to be a combination of a genetic predisposition to react to things in the environment called antigens e.g.  chemicals, stress, infections etc. This happens in someone whose genetic makeup makes his immune system more likely to overreact to the least provocation.

No, currently it has no cure, but it can be properly managed with medication and proper medical support and lifestyle changes to attain a resemblance of normal life.

Yes.  Childbirth is possible and can be safe as well, when planned with the proper medical management and monitoring; a woman who has an autoimmune condition can have a healthy baby carried to full term.

In certain situations your doctor may caution you to wait until the condition is stable before planning a pregnancy e.g. if you have kidney, lung or any major organ involvement or the condition is active.

The Hospital.

Since autoimmune diseases vary greatly in presentation, many different physician specialists care for patients with these disorders. The specialist is usually skilled in treating diseases of a particular system. Treatment for this condition is multi-disciplinary which means different health specialists will work to manage it.  Eg. physiotherapist, nephrologist etc. but primarily a Rheumatologist is the specialist for diagnosing, treating it and coordinating the care and need for other specialists.

A Rheumatologist is a specialist doctor who deal mainly with medical conditions affecting joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases, auto inflammatory and heritable connective tissue disorders

It can be truly said that physicians of any specialty may encounter patients with autoimmune disease.

: There are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases that affect different parts of the body. New diseases are being added to the list frequently.

: There are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases that affect different parts of the body. New diseases are being added to the list frequently.

: No unfortunately until scientists find the exact cause there is no determined preventive measure. However certain factors have in recent times been identified to aggravate or cause the condition and dealing with these may help reduce impact of the condition or in future prevent their development. eg Factors known to help include Increase vitamin D intake, reducing stress,  healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, reduce salt and processed foods, probiotics, reduce antibiotic use especially in children, etc.

Yes. It is more prevalent than previously thought.

Studies show that the incidence of autoimmune diseases is rising, but scientists are not sure why this is happening. Although the exact cause of autoimmune disorders is unknown, it is common among young to middle-aged women.

According to the latest research published by Mayo Clinic researchers, a woman’s lifetime risk for acquiring autoimmune disease is around eight percent, while a man’s risk is at five percent. This means that one in twelve women, and one in twenty men may develop an autoimmune disorder.

It is a rising global problem.

Yes, if left untreated properly 25 to 50% of people will end up with organ damage and death

  1. Generally, autoimmune diseases continue for the lifetime of the patient. They require continual or intermittent care. At this time definitive cures for the autoimmune diseases are not available. Often the drugs used for treating these diseases are quite expensive as well as the laboratory tests for them.

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