Discover the Immune System
Your immune system protects you from disease and infection by attacking germs that get into your body, such as viruses and bacteria. Your immune system can tell that the germs aren't part of you, so it destroys them. However, if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks the healthy cells of your organs and tissues by mistake.
There are more than 80 diseases that occur as a result of the immune system attacking the body’s own organs, tissues, and cells. Some of the more common autoimmune diseases include Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Lyme Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Help empower people with information so they are aware of access to treatment and care options to manage the effects of an autoimmune disease.
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The exact cause of autoimmune disorders is unknown. One theory is that some microorganisms (such as bacteria or viruses) or drugs may trigger changes that confuse the immune system. This may happen more often in people who have genes that make them more prone to autoimmune disorders.
What we do know? More medical research is needed.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. NIH is made up of 27 Institutes and Centers, each with a specific research agenda, often focusing on particular diseases or body systems.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is the leading medical research institute studying the immune system. Treatments are available for many autoimmune diseases, but cures have yet to be discovered. Overview of the Immune System
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is the leading medical research agency studying Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases
ClinicalTrials.gov is a resource maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It provides easy access to information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies on a wide range of diseases and conditions. Learn more about ClinicalTrials.gov or Find an Autoimmune Clinical Trial.
The Autoimmune Association is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to autoimmune awareness, advocacy, education, and research.
Global Autoimmune Institute is empowering solutions in the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune disease (AD) through research, education, and community, while supporting multidisciplinary approaches to wellness. The organization makes available a list of medical institutions across the United States that specialize in diagnosing and treating various autoimmune diseases.
Unfortunately, Autoimmune diseases are common - affecting more than 23.5 million Americans. Yet certain people are at greater risk for some autoimmune diseases. For instance, type 1 Diabetes is more common in white people. Lupus [Infographic PDF] is most severe for African-American and Hispanic people.
Autoimmunity Disease hits mainstream media when a celebrity uses their influence to raise awareness of their diagnosis.
- Venus Williams was diagnosed in 2011 with Sjögren’s syndrome and had to drop out of the U.S. Open that year.
- Selma Blair made headlines in 2019 when she accessorized her evening gown by carrying a custom monogrammed cane with a pink diamond. The year before, she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
- Christina Applegate also announced her recent Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis after experiencing increasing tingling and numbness of her extremities.
- Lady Gaga's 2017 documentary shows the highs and lows of her living with Fibromyalgia.
- When Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Lupus in 2013, she found herself in need of a kidney transplant.
- Ted Danson has Psoriatic Arthritis. He manages his recurring back and hip pain through meditation, breathing, exercise, and diet.
- Recording artists Nick Jonas and Bret Michaels as well as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor manage their Type 1 Diabetes with insulin.
- Ashton Kutcher has Vasculitis that impaired his hearing, vision, and walking ability.
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