Common Autoimmune Diseases Explained

It’s almost unthinkable that your body could be its own worst enemy, but when you have an autoimmune disease, that’s exactly what happens. There are more than 80 different types of these self-attacking conditions, and millions of Americans suffer from them. 

While autoimmune diseases have no cure, that doesn’t mean there’s no relief. 

Our team of naturopathic physicians, including Dr. Jake Schmutz and Dr. Joshua Hersh at Integrative Medica in Salt Lake City, Utah, offers an effective blend of conventional and alternative medicine to relieve your symptoms and promote overall wellness that strengthens your immune system.

Depending on the specific autoimmune disease you have, you may suffer from multiple issues, including: pain, inflammation, chronic fatigue, joint stiffness, skin rashes, and more. The first step toward managing your symptoms and living with your autoimmune disease is understanding which one you have. Here are the six most common ones. 

Types of autoimmune diseases

There are dozens of autoimmune diseases — too many to review here. But let’s take a look at the autoimmune conditions we see most often here at Integrative Medica.

Psoriasis

If you have patches of red, scaly skin, you may have psoriasis. This autoimmune condition causes your skin cells to rapidly multiply and form a silvery layer. But it doesn’t only affect your skin — 30% of psoriasis sufferers develop psoriatic arthritis, which includes all of the symptoms of psoriasis along with swelling and pain in the joints.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome, which is not a disease, inflammatory bowel disease includes two distinct conditions: 

Crohn’s disease: Inflammation in digestive tract lining

Ulcerative colitis: Ulcers and sores in the lining of your colon and rectum

Both types of IBD share the symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fatigue.

Type 1 diabetes

When you have Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, a critical hormone that enables sugar to enter your cells and produce energy. Since there’s no cure, you need to carefully manage your blood sugar levels through diet and medication. 

Rheumatoid arthritis

This autoimmune disease targets your joints, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. You also notice redness in the area, your skin may feel warm to the touch, and you have decreased range of motion as your cartilage deteriorates within. 

Multiple sclerosis

When your immune system attacks the protective covering of your nerves (the myelin), you have multiple sclerosis (MS). The damage causes miscommunication between your brain and your body. The disease is progressive and eventually causes disability.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is simply inflammation of the thyroid gland, but Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a chronic autoimmune condition that gradually degrades your thyroid and impairs its ability to produce thyroid hormones. 

Symptoms of autoimmune conditions

Each type of autoimmune disease comes with its own set of distinct symptoms, but many share some common signs with one another, including:

At Integrative Medica, we treat your symptoms to bring you quick and lasting relief, but we also dig deeper to discover the source of your pain, so we can treat that as well. 

For instance, you may have a condition that triggers your autoimmune flare-ups, such as a hormone imbalance or food allergy, and we can help you manage those conditions as well.

How we treat autoimmune diseases

We take autoimmune diseases very seriously here at Integrative Medica, and we offer a full range of traditional and alternative treatments. Depending on your unique situation, we may suggest:

These are just a few of the effective treatments that have helped our patients overcome many of their autoimmune disease symptoms and live longer, happier lives. 

If you’ve been suffering from an autoimmune disease and are searching for a way to manage your symptoms, contact us by phone or online to arrange a consultation with our specialists.

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