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Autoimmune Disease

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is an autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease causes your body's immune system to attack healthy cells in your body by mistake. Antibodies are created by your body to destroy foreign substances that can be harmful to you. An autoimmune disease causes the antibodies to attack healthy cells instead of foreign substances. This causes inflammation in the affected areas. The disease may affect any part of your body, including skin, organs, blood, your digestive system, and connective tissues. There are many autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, celiac disease, and diabetes.

What increases my risk for an autoimmune disease?

What are the signs and symptoms of an autoimmune disease?

Signs and symptoms depend on the type of autoimmune disease and the body systems affected. Symptoms may be mild or severe, and may come and go. You may have many of the following if you have an autoimmune disease that affects more than one body system:

How is an autoimmune disease diagnosed?

How is an autoimmune disease treated?

What can I do to manage my autoimmune disease?

What can I do to manage symptoms during a flare?

A flare means something triggered your symptoms. Stress, cold weather, and sunlight are examples of triggers. Your healthcare provider can help you create a management plan that includes what to do if you have a flare. Treat flares quickly to help prevent serious illness.

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.