When your immune system defends your body against disease, it mistakenly considers your healthy cells foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy cells causing an autoimmune disorder.
An autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissues, depending on the type. It can also lead to changes in organ function and abnormal organ growth.
A total of 80 different types of autoimmune diseases exists. Many of them have similar symptoms, making diagnosis extremely difficult. It is also possible to have multiple of them at the same time. Autoimmune diseases usually alternate between periods of remission (with few or no symptoms) and flare-ups (with severe symptoms).
According to the Indian Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), autoimmune disorders affect 5% to 10% of the Indian population. They often run-in families, and women account for 75 percent of those affected. Fatigue, muscle aches, and low fever are often the first signs.
Inflammation is a common symptom of autoimmune disease, and it can cause redness, heat, pain, and swelling. Flare-ups occur when symptoms worsen, and remissions occur when symptoms alleviate or disappear.