20 Major Autoimmune Diseases and Treatment

August 2, 2021

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is primarily an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints; the illness occurs when the immune system attacks the joint’s lining, leading to discomfort and inflammation. Additionally, the condition can affect other joints, especially the knees, wrists, and hands. Symptoms comprise stiffness of joints, especially in the morning, tenderness, swelling, joint pain, fatigue, and fever. Some treatment options are available, but there is no cure for this disease. In most cases, the disorder may last for years or be long-life. The condition is treated using antirheumatic drugs such as biologics that prevent joint deformity and disease advancement.


Psoriasis causes patches, peeling, and swollen skin. The condition occurs as a result of the skin producing excess new skin cells. However, the condition is often not a severe disease but can be distressing or painful. The symptoms include itching, pain, scaly skin, and thick inflamed patches on the skin. Furthermore, imaging or lab tests are rarely required; management and treatment options include UV light therapy, topical ointments, and biologics.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a type of nervous system autoimmune illness that happens when the immune system attacks healthy nerves affecting the electrical signals sent by the nerves to the brain. The condition leads to difficulty in swallowing, weak muscles, vision problems, abnormal heart rates, and lack of bladder control. The syndrome is rare, and treatments help prevent further damage through high steroids doses, immunoglobulin therapy, and plasma exchange.


Vitiligo is a type of autoimmune skin condition and chronic disease that triggers the skin to lose its pigment. Vitiligo is a result of the melanocyte being attacked by the immune system, hence preventing melanin production. The symptoms include grey or white hair on the eyelashes or scalp, mouth discoloration, and light or white patches of the skin on the face, arms, or feet. The recommended treatment plan includes ultraviolet (UV) light therapy, also known as ultraviolet (UV) phototherapy.

Celiac Sprue

The disease attacks the digestive system. A person’s immunity reacts to gluten, a protein that foods like barley, pasta, and bread contain. Over time, the disorder may prevent the absorption of nutrients. Symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, constipation, and abdominal pain, and bloating. Individuals with this disorder are advised to undergo imaging or lab tests regularly. The recommended treatment plan is the avoidance of gluten in the diet.


Scleroderma is a type of autoimmune disease that affects the skin. The condition causes an uneven development of connective tissue in the blood vessels and skin, leading to thick and problematic skin. The condition is mild in some people but at the same time can affect internal organs and can cause death. Research indicates that the condition may be genetic, environmental, exposure to certain drugs or viruses. The autoimmune condition mainly affects women between the ages of 30 to 50; symptoms include tightening and thickness of the skin, ulcers on the fingertips, and calcium deposits a lot the connective tissue. Treatment and management methods include immunosuppressants and bowel and heartburn discomfort.

Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolytic anemia is an autoimmune disease that affects the blood. The condition occurs when the immune system destroys the red blood cells. As a result, it causes an oxygen deficiency that leads to headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Treatment and management programs include corticosteroids that reduce inflammation and surgical removal of the spleen.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The condition is an autoimmune illness of the digestive system; it causes chronic swelling of the digestive system giving rise to irritation and pain. The primary methods of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Additionally, the symptoms comprise abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, fatigue, and rectal bleeding. Treatment methods include changing eating habits and medications such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a nervous system type of condition where the immune system mistakenly affects the myelin sheath shielding the nerves. As a result, the disease affects the transmission of signals to and fro the connected parts such as the spinal cord, nerves, and brain. Symptoms include weakness in extremities, tremors, speaking, walking, and numbness in the hands, arms, and feet. Notably, the disease does not have definite drugs for treatment; although certain medications may control and lower the symptoms, cases are different.

Type 1 Diabetes

The condition is a disease that affects hormones. The immune system attacks cells that make insulin which controls blood sugar levels. Lack of adequate insulin causes a person’s blood glucose level to rise very high, causing thirst, hunger, and fatigue. The condition is managed and controlled by administering daily insulin , regular physical activity, and diet monitoring.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

The disease is a condition that affects the glands whereby the immune system affects the thyroid glands, leading to less thyroid hormone production. Symptoms are hair loss, fatigue, muscle pain, stiff joints, constipation, and weight gain. A daily dose of levothyroxine helps raise thyroid hormone levels.

Graves’ Disease

The condition is an autoimmune disease that affects hormones. It causes the thyroid gland to become overactive and generate excess hormones causing a range of symptoms such as irritability, shaky hands, racing heartbeat, muscle weakness, insomnia, and weight loss. Several treatments and management options include Antithyroid medication to lower thyroid hormones level and radioactive iodine. In addition, thyroidectomy may be recommended by healthcare professionals.

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura

The condition is a form of autoimmune disease that affects women, and antibodies attack the blood platelets necessary for blood clots. Signs include a heavy menstrual cycle, easy bruising, bleeding in the mouth and nose, abdominal pain, and red or tiny purple dots on the skin. Treatments include steroids such as oral corticosteroids; however, if corticosteroids fail to help, immune globulin injections are offered to patients.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The condition is an illness that affects the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, and brain. Moreover, the state produces rashes in the organs. Common symptoms include rashes, fatigue, and joint pain. The condition may be treated and managed by administering antimalarial and corticosteroids.

Autoimmune Vasculitis

The condition affects the blood vessels. Generally, autoimmune vasculitis arises when the immune system attacks the blood vessels causing an inflammation that narrows the veins and arteries, allowing less blood flow. The symptoms include headache, fever, and fatigue. The treatment and management options include administering corticosteroid drugs to control the inflammation.

Addison’s Disease

The condition is a condition that attacks the glands. The disease affects the adrenal glands responsible for producing aldosterone, cortisol, and androgen hormones. Little cortisol may affect how the body uses and stores sugar and carbohydrates. Aldosterone deficiency may lead to excess potassium and sodium loss in the bloodstream. The symptoms include low blood sugar, weight loss, and weakness. Treatment plans include hormone replacement therapy and oral corticosteroids to correct the level of steroids.

Sjögren’s Syndrome

The condition is a type of autoimmune disease that attacks the glands which provide lubrication to the mouth and eyes. The primary symptoms include dry mouth and eyes but may also affect the skins or joints. The treatment method comprises administering hydroxyl chloroquine and methotrexate, which suppress the immune system.

Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

The disease affects both genders but mainly affects women. The immune system destroys the bile duct leading to a buildup of bile in the liver that causes pain. The damages harden the liver and ultimately stops functioning. Symptoms include dry mouth and eyes, yellowing itchy skin, and fatigue. Nevertheless, there is no cure for the condition, but medications such as Ursodeoxycholic acid are used to slow the disease process and prevent further complications.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata mainly affects women; the immune system affects hair follicles. The condition is not health-threatening though it affects an individual’s appearance. An individual can recover from the disease since it is temporary. The hair loss is temporary, and the follicles are the ability to grow. The main symptom is the patchy loss of hair on the face, scalp, and other body parts. Applying corticosteroids on the bald spots and minoxidil to help maintain hair growth. Moreover, some people choose to treat the condition using natural methods, and research supports natural products in alopecia disease.

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that destroys the nerves. The condition deteriorates after periods of movement and improves after rest. It is because the antibodies bind to the nerves, which are unable to stimulate muscles properly. Additionally, the disease is common in men above sixty years and women below forty years. The main symptoms of the condition are droopy eyelids, double vision, and difficulty in swallowing. This health condition has no cure, however, pyridostigmine remains the best treatment option.


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