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Autoimmune Disease

What Is an Autoimmune Disease?


An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks your body. The immune system will normally protect you against viruses and bacteria and can normally tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells. In those who have an autoimmune disease, the immune system will mistake parts of your body as foreign. It then releases proteins called autoantibodies that then attack healthy cells. Some autoimmune diseases only target one organ, while others will affect the whole body.


Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes this, and some people are more likely to get an autoimmune disease than others. Certain ones, such as lupus, can run in families. Some are more common in certain ethnic groups. Since the occurrence of these diseases is rising, researchers believe environmental factors could also be involved. There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases. Some of the common ones include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease.