what is autoimmunity

 In Autoimmunity the immune system, which is designed to protect all that is the human body, becomes misdirected (confused) and views the body's healthy tissue as threatening. The immune system begins to attack the healthy body tissue causing one or more autoimmune diseases or disorders. The disease an individual develops depends on the tissue the immune system attacks.  

Here are a few unsettling facts about Autoimmunity in the U.S..


  • Autoimmunity is usually hereditary.  Therefore most patients are predisposed to developing autoimmunity and at least one autoimmune disease. Have you ever wondered why other people in your family, both immediate and extended, have similar illnesses?
  •  The NIH has done epidemiology studies on 24 of the more than 100 autoimmune diseases.  These 24 diseases, alone, affect more than 23 million Americans. 
  • Autoimmune diseases are among the leading causes of death in America’s female children and women up to age 65. 
  • 75% of America's autoimmune disease patients are female. This is largely due to the physical and hormonal changes females naturally experience.
  • Several factors can trigger an autoimmune response in the human body, including physical or emotional trauma, unfavorable environmental conditions, and infection.

  • There few to no aggregated autoimmune statistics in the U.S.. In most cases autoimmune diseases are lumped into categories with other chronic illnesses that sound similar, but are very different in onset, management, treatment and prevention.


what you should know


​​​Symptoms of an autoimmune response or development of an autoimmune disease may vary, depending on the individual and the type of attack by the immune system.  Visit your physician if you notice any changes, including 

  •  Insomnia
  • Fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, or increased heartbeat

  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Tremor, involuntary movement, unsteady gate
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Recurring rashes, hives, or sun sensitivity
  • Brain Fog (difficulty concentrating)
  • Change in tolerance to heat and cold
  • Inflammation, joint or connective tissue pain or severe stiffness
  • Hair loss, severe dry mouth and skin, dry eyes
  • Drastic change in urination, diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood or mucus in stool
  • Recurring bruises or sores, knots near joints

Although no symptom guarantees an autoimmune diagnosis, listening to and understanding your body is imperative to your healthcare.  Diagnosing autoimmune diseases can be very difficult for a physician as most symptoms overlap. In some cases, blood testing may not detect an autoimmune response, in the early phase of diagnosis.
Assist your physician by preparing for your appointment.

  • Speak with family members (if available) about medical history of living and deceased relatives. Be sure to document

             1. Person's relation to you
             2. Year of birth / Year of death
             3. All known medical diagnoses
             4. Cause of death (if applicable)

  • Gather your personal medical records and a list of all current medications
  • Use a journal or notebook to track your body's behavior.  If you do not begin tracking at the first sign of change, do so as soon as possible leading up to your appointment. You should document

              1. Current date and time
              2. Detail the symptom
              3. Activity just before the symptom began
              4. Duration of the symptom

  • Jot down any questions that arise while preparing for your appointment

autoimmune and autoimmune related diagnoses

 Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
Acute necrotizing hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis
Addison’s disease
Alopecia areata
Ankylosing spondylitis
Anti-GBM/Anti-TBM nephritis
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
Autoimmune angioedema
Autoimmune aplastic anemia
Autoimmune dysautonomia
Autoimmune hepatitis
Autoimmune hyperlipidemia
Autoimmune immunodeficiency
Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED)
Autoimmune myocarditis
Autoimmune oophoritis
Autoimmune pancreatitis
Autoimmune retinopathy
Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (ATP)
Autoimmune thyroid disease
Autoimmune urticaria
Axonal & neuronal neuropathies
Balo disease
Behcet’s disease
Bullous pemphigoid
Castleman disease
Celiac disease
Chagas disease
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
Chronic recurrent multifocal ostomyelitis (CRMO)
Churg-Strauss syndrome
Cicatricial pemphigoid/benign mucosal pemphigoid
Crohn’s disease
Cogans syndrome
Cold agglutinin disease
Congenital heart block
Coxsackie myocarditis
CREST disease
Essential mixed cryoglobulinemia
Demyelinating neuropathies
Dermatitis herpetiformis
Devic’s disease (neuromyelitis optica)
Discoid lupus
Dressler’s syndrome
Eosinophilic esophagitis
Eosinophilic fasciitis
Erythema nodosum
Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis
Evans syndrome
Fibrosing alveolitis
Giant cell arteritis (temporal arteritis)
Giant cell myocarditis
Goodpasture’s syndrome
Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA)
   (formerly called Wegener’s Granulomatosis)
Graves’ disease
Guillain-Barre syndrome
Hashimoto’s encephalitis
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Hemolytic anemia
Henoch-Schonlein purpura
Herpes gestationis
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
IgA nephropathy
IgG4-related sclerosing disease
Immunoregulatory lipoproteins
Inclusion body myositis
Interstitial cystitis
Juvenile arthritis
Juvenile diabetes (Type 1 diabetes)
Juvenile myositis
Kawasaki syndrome

 ​Lambert-Eaton syndrome
Leukocytoclastic vasculitis
Lichen planus
Lichen sclerosus
Ligneous conjunctivitis
Linear IgA disease (LAD)
Lupus (SLE)
Lyme disease, chronic​

Meniere’s disease
Microscopic polyangiitis
Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD)
Mooren’s ulcer
Mucha-Habermann disease
Multiple sclerosis
Myasthenia gravis
Myositis Narcolepsy
Neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s)
Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid
Optic neuritis
Palindromic rheumatism
PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus)
Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH)
Parry Romberg syndrome
Parsonnage-Turner syndrome
Pars planitis (peripheral uveitis)
Peripheral neuropathy
Perivenous encephalomyelitis
Pernicious anemia
POEMS syndrome
Polyarteritis nodosa
Type I, II, & III autoimmune polyglandular syndromes
Polymyalgia rheumatica
Postmyocardial infarction syndrome
Postpericardiotomy syndrome
Progesterone dermatitis
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Primary sclerosing cholangitis
Psoriatic arthritis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Pyoderma gangrenosum
Pure red cell aplasia
Raynauds phenomenon
Reactive Arthritis
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Reiter’s syndrome
Relapsing polychondritis
Restless legs syndrome
Retroperitoneal fibrosis
Rheumatic fever
Rheumatoid arthritis
Schmidt syndrome
Sjogren’s syndrome
Sperm & testicular autoimmunity
Stiff person syndrome
Subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE)
Susac’s syndrome
Sympathetic ophthalmia
Takayasu’s arteritis
Temporal arteritis/Giant cell arteritis
Thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
Tolosa-Hunt syndrome
Transverse myelitis
Type 1 diabetes
Ulcerative colitis
Undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD)
Vesiculobullous dermatosis
Wegener’s granulomatosis (now termed Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA)