Auto Immune Disease
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Scleroderma also known as systemic sclerosis, is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by damage to endothelial and smooth muscle cells of the small arteries. Replacement with fibrous material results, and there is an influx of inflammatory cells. Primarily affects skin and joints but can affect the heart and lungs, and digestive tract.
Auto-Immune Neuropathy and CIDP
CIDP also known as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is an auto-immune disease of the nervous system characterized by progressive weakness and impaired sensory function in the legs and arms. CIDP is closely related to Guillan-Barre Disease. Treatment for CIDP includes steroids and immunosuppressant drugs.
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune neuromuscular disease leading to fluctuating muscle weakness and fatigability. It is an autoimmune disorder, in which weakness is caused by circulating antibodies that inhibit the excitatory effects of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine on neuromuscular junctions. Muscular fatigue is often seen and MG is associated with ocular problems, and speech, swallowing, and breathing can be affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease common in middle age, especially in women. The disease affects peripheral joints, including the wrists, feet, ankles, and knees. The cause is unknown and eyes and skin also can be involved. Early aggressive therapy with immunosuppressive drugs and anti-inflammatories appears to delay joint destruction.
The incidence and prevalence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are rising. According to some estimates >1 million new cases of IBD arise in the United States annually. The conventional therapies available for IBD range from anti-inflammatory drugs to immunosuppressive agents, but these therapies generally fail to achieve satisfactory results due to their side effects.
Auto-immune hepatitis is an inflammatory auto-immune disease of the liver. It often occurs with other auto-immune conditions such as scleroderma, lupus, Crohn’s, and Graves thyroid disease. Patients experience fatigue, loss of appetite, itching, and abdominal distension. Treatment with corticosteroids is the standard.
Relapsing Polychondritis is an auto-immune condition characterized by the body attacking its own cartilage. Polychondritis patients suffer from recurrent relapsing episodes of painful cartilage inflammation. Susceptible areas include ears, nasopharynx, heart valves, and blood vessels. As stated in Annals of Internal Medicine, Relapsing Polychondritis…can be life-threatening and debilitating.
Alopecia Areata is a genetically related auto-immune condition in which the body attacks its own hair follicles resulting in small bald patches. It can involve the entire scalp (totalis) or the entire body (universalis). Sometimes patients spontaneously improve and others continue to worsen. Steroid therapy and topical immune-suppressants are frequently used for treatment. There are ongoing clinical trials using growth factor inhibitors to mitigate the hair loss.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, considered a collection of diseases, is an auto-immune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues, especially in the joints (especially fingers, wrists, hands, and knees). Patients often develop fatigue, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, but many body parts can be affected.
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