6 Autoimmune Diseases That Affect Women

One study estimated that about 80% of all patients diagnosed with autoimmune diseases are women. 

Autoimmune diseases are disorders in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, leading to inflammation and damage. 

In this blog post, we will review some of the most common autoimmune diseases that target women, symptoms, and ways to manage these conditions. 

Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that affects more than one million people in the US. It causes inflammation and damage to tissue and organs, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Early detection is important for successfully managing lupus, as this condition can be life-threatening if not treated appropriately.

Common signs of lupus include extreme fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, swollen glands, and light sensitivity. While there is no known cure for lupus, medications can help reduce symptoms and prevent potential organ damage. Patients should work closely with their doctor to find a treatment plan that works for them. With proper care and support from loved ones, lupus can be managed effectively and those affected can live a full and active life.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a difficult and complex autoimmune disease that manifests itself by attacking the joints. It is an inflammatory condition, causing pain, tenderness, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion. This painful chronic condition affects more than 1.3 million Americans, mostly women over the age of 40.  

Left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage and put you at risk for other related health issues like heart disease and osteoporosis. But luckily, there are treatment options available to help manage this debilitating illness including medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), or biologic response modifiers. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to find an appropriate treatment plan that works best for you. 

Hashimoto's disease

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid gland, resulting in an underactive thyroid and a host of associated symptoms. This chronic health issue is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged women. It is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States.  

Symptoms vary from person to person but can include fatigue, weight gain, depression, joint pain, dry skin and hair loss. If not managed properly, individuals living with Hashimoto’s may experience negative effects on their quality of life, including an increased risk for other chronic illnesses. While there is no cure for Hashimoto’s, treatment options such as medications and lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms. 

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system, preventing it from absorbing nutrients from food when gluten is present. Living with celiac disease can be difficult, as sufferers must maintain a strict diet and avoid foods containing gluten, such as regular bread and pasta.  

However, with advances in food technology and the increasing availability of gluten-free options, living with celiac disease is becoming easier for many people around the world. It is also important to note that diagnosis and treatment of this medical condition are making huge strides – doctors are now able to diagnose celiac more accurately, while medication can help to reduce certain symptoms experienced as a result. Although there is still much work to be done in terms of research and awareness surrounding celiac disease, it is clear that changes are being made daily to make life easier for those suffering from this autoimmune condition. 

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that causes red, itchy, and scaly patches on the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body but especially around the elbows, knees, and scalp. Although psoriasis is not contagious, it can be extremely debilitating for those who suffer from it due to itching and discomfort. 

Thankfully, there are many treatments available, from creams and moisturizers to new medical treatments using lasers or drugs that can help reduce symptoms. With proper care and an understanding of lifestyle changes that might exacerbate psoriasis flares, those who are affected can find relief to manage their symptoms and lead a normal life. 

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, potentially disabling disease that affects the central nervous system. It can cause various symptoms, including changes in sensation and coordination, muscle weakness, cognitive dysfunction, vision problems, and fatigue. 

While treatment can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, sadly, there is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis. With research advancements though, scientists are focusing on ways to reduce inflammation of nerve fibers caused by multiple sclerosis with drug therapy and other treatments. By doing so there is hope that individuals with the disease may experience better quality of life. 

While these six autoimmune diseases are not the only ones out there, they are some of the most common. If you or someone you know is suffering from an autoimmune disease, it’s important to get educated and seek treatment. There are many treatments available for autoimmune diseases, and scientists continue to search for better and more effective treatments every day. 

If you need to make an appointment with a healthcare provider to discuss an autoimmune condition or any other women’s health issue, contact WomanCare today. Our team of experienced OB/GYNs can provide the support and care you need. Call us at 847-221-4900. 

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