About Autoimmune Disease

Understanding Autoimmune Diseases: Symptoms


When you have an autoimmune disease your bodies immune system is sending out attackers against its own healthy cells. These attackers are called antibodies, which are proteins that recognize, attack, and destroy harmful substances trying to destroy the body.  While they are busy fighting off intruders and battles chronic inflammation they may become mixed up and begin confusing healthy tissue as an invader and attack.  This is how autoimmune disease begins.  The symptoms of autoimmune disease vary depending on what antibodies are being sent out and what tissue they are attacking.  The following is  a list of twenty general symptoms of autoimmune diseases.

  1. Feeling tired or fatigued
  2. Weight-loss or weight gain
  3. Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  4. Intolerance to cold or heat
  5. Joint or muscle weakness, pain, or tremors
  6. Sun sensitivity
  7. Insomnia
  8. Recurrent rashes or hives
  9. Dry eyes, mouth, or skin
  10. Hair loss
  11. Numbness or tingling in the hands of feet
  12. Color changes on the hands and feet in extreme temperatures
  13. Mouth ulcers
  14. Abdominal pain
  15. Blood or mucus in the stool
  16. Chronic diarrhea
  17. White patches on the skin or inside your mouth
  18. Rapid heartbeat
  19. Butterfly rash across the face
  20. Multiple miscarriages or blood clots

I can remember when I first went to the doctor when I was experiencing a slew of these unexplainable symptoms.  With good advice from the medical professionals in my family, I walked into the exam room prepared with a list of my crazy symptoms. They had encouraged me to write down anything I could think of to give to the doctor because you never know what might be the thing that brings a diagnosis together.  I took their advice and walked in that day with a page of around 25 symptoms!  A lot of them were similar and a few were different.  Of course, my physician looked at me like I was just a little bit crazy when I handed it to her, but it got her thinking!  I also believe that my seriousness about the issue helped her take me serious too.


We have to be our own biggest advocates when it comes to our health.  While our doctors certainly do their best to care for us, at the end of the day, it is you who has to live with the disease and the effects of the disease.  If you feel that your doctor is not taking your symptoms or you seriously, find a new one.  You should never alow yourself to be dismissed as crazy, over-sensitive, or just stressed out.  Getting a diagnosis is hard and takes time.  Be patient with the process but don’t let the process count you out either.  Sometimes the sound of hooves is not horses but an autoimmune mess zebra.

For specific autoimmune disease symptoms check out these links from AARDA.

Autoimmune and Autoimmune-Related Diseases


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