autoimmune_diseases - Autoimmune Diseases If you have an autoimmune(aw-toh-ih-MYOON disease your experience may have been frustrating and confusing It

autoimmune_diseases - Autoimmune Diseases If you have an...

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Autoimmune Diseases 83 Autoimmune Diseases If you have an autoimmune (aw-toh-ih-MYOON) disease, your experience may have been frustrating and confusing. It can be hard to describe the often debilitating symptoms many people endure. And the medical community is still learning about these diseases, which affect mostly women. To date, there are no cures. The good news is that there are treatments available to manage tough symptoms and you can feel better. At the same time, experts are working toward better treatments and perhaps even a way to prevent these diseases someday. What are autoimmune diseases? The immune system is a complex net- work of special cells and organs that defends the body from “foreign” invad- ers. These invaders can be germs, viruses, and other foreign things called antigens (AN-tih-juhnz). At the core of the immune system is the ability to distinguish between self and nonself: what’s you and what’s foreign. A flaw can make the body unable to tell the difference between self and nonself. When this happens, the body makes autoantibodies (AW-toh-AN-teye-bah- deez) that attack normal cells by mistake. At the same time, special cells called regulatory T cells fail to do their job of keeping the immune system in line. The result is a misguided attack on your own body. This causes the damage we know as an autoimmune disease. Body Parts That Can Be Affected by Autoimmune Diseases Trachea Blood and Blood Vessels Others: Glands Muscles Nerves Brain Eyes Mouth Spinal Cord Thyroid Lung Kidney Stomach Pancreas Large Intestine Small Intestine Bladder Vagina Heart Skin Esophagus Liver Joints Ovary Uterus Cervix
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84 The Healthy Woman: A Complete Guide for All Ages The more than 80 different autoimmune diseases are each defined by the kind of damage involved and the body part(s) affected. The blood, skin, eyes, nerves, and heart are just some of the body parts that can be involved. Who is at risk of getting autoimmune diseases? Individually, autoimmune diseases are rare. Together, they are a leading cause of disability and death. The number of people with autoimmune diseases is growing, but it is unclear why. It is also unclear why certain people are at greater risk of getting these diseases. To learn more, experts are studying patients to see what they may have in common. Women of childbearing age. Of the more than 23.5 million people with autoimmune diseases, most are women. As a group, these diseases are a leading cause of death among young and mid- dle-aged women. Often, they strike dur- ing childbearing years when women are likely juggling multiple roles as mothers, caregivers, employees, friends, commu- nity members, and much more. Dealing with an autoimmune disease can be a trying experience on top of an already busy life.
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  • Fall '16
  • gfdsg
  • Rheumatology, autoimmune disease, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Autoimmune Diseases

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