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Autoimmune Disorders and Illness Susceptibility

Updated: Jan 15

Under normal circumstances, the immune system fights against germs, viruses, and bacteria, recognizing them as foreign invaders and sending fighter cells to attack them. The immune system usually knows the difference between normal cells and foreign cells.

However, the immune system can also mistake a harmless part of your body as a foreign invader and attack it with autoantibodies. This could result in an autoimmune disorder or disease in otherwise healthy cells, joints, or skin. In other cases, autoimmune diseases target a singular organ such as the pancreas. Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes immune-system confusion.

Keep reading below to learn more about the relationship between autoimmune disorders and illness susceptibility. Understanding this relationship can help people learn to live more easily with their diseases.

Common Autoimmune Disorders

Of the more than 80 different autoimmune diseases, doctors can easily recognize a handful of common ones. Some common autoimmune diseases include:

  1. Type 1 diabetes

  2. Rheumatoid arthritis

  3. Multiple sclerosis

  4. Psoriasis

  5. Lupus

  6. Inflammatory bowel disease

  7. Addison’s disease

  8. Celiac disease

Symptoms of Autoimmune Disorders

When someone is in the early stages of an autoimmune disorder, they may experience multiple symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

  1. Skin rashes

  2. Swelling and redness

  3. Low-grade fever

  4. Hair loss

  5. Fatigue

  6. Achy muscles

  7. Trouble concentrating

  8. Numbness or tingling in the feet and hands

Symptoms can come and go over time, depending on the severity of the disease. For example, type 1 diabetes can cause weight loss, extreme thirst, and fatigue.


The most important thing to know about the relationship between autoimmune disorders and illness susceptibility is that people with autoimmune disorders and diseases have a higher chance of contracting common illnesses. Conditions such as colds, influenza, allergic reactions, and even food poisoning are more dangerous to people with autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune Disorder Treatments

Many autoimmune disorders have no treatments or cures available. However, certain medications can often control overreactive immune responses. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can relieve symptoms of pain, swelling, skin rashes, and fatigue.

On top of taking the proper medication, following well-balanced diets and exercising regularly can also make patients feel better. It’s essential to speak with a doctor about any foods to avoid and how to otherwise reduce autoimmune flare-ups.

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