An autoimmune disorder happens when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and body tissue. Your immune system cannot tell the difference between healthy tissue and antigens, resulting in the destruction of body tissue, an abnormal growth of an organ or changes in organ function.
Antigens are harmful substances that cause your immune system to produce antibodies against it. Examples of antigens include bacteria, chemicals, viruses and pollen. The white cells in your body help protect your immune system against these harmful substances. However, when an autoimmune disorder is present, the body ends up destroying healthy tissue and antigens all together.
An autoimmune disorder may affect one or more organ or tissue types. These include blood vessels, connective tissues, endocrine glands (thyroid or pancreas), joints, muscles, red blood cells and skin.
There are approximately 80 types of autoimmune disorders in existence. Common autoimmune disorders include Addison’s disease, Celiac disease, Dermatomyositis, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Multiple sclerosis, Myasthenia gravis, Pernicious anemia, Reactive arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren syndrome, Systemic lupus erythematosus and Type I diabetes.
Common symptoms of autoimmune disorders include fatigue, fever, joint pain and rash.
There are no known causes for autoimmune disorders. However, some theories point to drugs or certain bacteria or viruses that trigger these disorders.
Personalabs offers testing for several autoimmune disorders. Testing includes antinuclear antibody tests, autoantibody tests, a complete blood count, a comprehensive metabolic panel, a C-reactive protein (CRP) test, an Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and a urinalysis.