We R the Cure

Seeking Cures and Cheating Destiny

Autoimmune Disorders: A Definition

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An autoimmune disorder is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue.

Normally the immune system’s white blood cells help protect the body from harmful substances, called antigens. Examples of antigens include bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, toxins, and blood or tissues from another person or species. The immune system produces antibodies that destroy these harmful substances. In patients with an autoimmune disorder, the immune system can’t tell the difference between healthy body tissue and antigens. The result is an immune response that destroys normal body tissues. With autoimmune disorders, the immune system reacts to normal body tissues that it would normally ignore.

What causes the immune system to no longer tell the difference between healthy body tissues and antigens is unknown. One theory is that some microorganisms (such as bacteria or viruses) or drugs may trigger some of these changes, especially in people who have genes that make them more likely to get autoimmune disorders.  There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disorders. Here is a very small list of diseases that fall into the autoimmune category:

  • alopecia areata
  • autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • autoimmune hepatitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • dermatomyositis
  • diabetes (type 1)
  • Graves’ disease
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • multiple sclerosis
  • psoriasis
  • psoriatic arthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • thyroiditis

For more complete information about Autoimmune Disorders, check out the National Institutes of Health website. It’s a great place to start your research.


Author: werthecure01

Diabetes doesn't define me; it inspires me to define the future for individuals living with autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes. -- Mike Anderson, diagnosed 1998.

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