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Understanding Autoimmune Disease

Currently there are more than 120 different autoimmune diseases. Although perceived as rare, autoimmune diseases affect up to 8 percent of the population.1

About Autoimmune Disease

Frequently these diseases, when undiagnosed and untreated, are associated with a poor prognosis for the patient. In many autoimmune diseases, particularly early in the disease course—when it is most modifiable—patients often present with overlapping clinical features, making diagnosis by symptoms alone nearly impossible.1

Using clinical diagnostics from your local pathology laboratory to look beneath the surface in this clinically challenging field can provide key diagnostic clues to aid your differential diagnosis. This can mean that your patient is diagnosed sooner in the course of their disease and receive treatment that can potentially have a significant impact on prognosis.

Diagnosis and treatment is key to helping patients manage symptoms for a range of autoimmune diseases, which include: 

  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS)
  • Connective Tissue Diseases (CTD)
  • Gastrointestinal Disease (GI)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Thyroid Disease 
  • Vasculitis 

Explore Types of Autoimmune Disease

APS
APS
CTD
CTD
GI Disease
GI Disease
Gastro
Gastro
RA
RA
RA
RA
Thyroid
Thyroid Disease
Vasculitis
Vasculitis
Thyroid
Thyroid
Vasculitis
Vasculitis

75% of people with autoimmune disease are women.3

While autoimmune diseases affect millions of people worldwide, women are more at risk.

Autoimmune diseases in women: A threat to women2

Data highlights that gender bias toward females is high (9:1)3 in the majority of autoimmune diseases, and prevalence can be especially high in certain diseases, such as thyroid diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and Sjögren’s syndrome. These diseases also dominate the list of the top 10 leading causes of death among women.4


Depending on the autoantibody involved, autoimmune diseases can manifest themselves and be classified as either organ specific or systemic.

 


The spectrum of autoimmune diseases

Organ-specific diseases examples include:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Celiac disease (CD)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Systemic diseases examples include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Vasculitis 

In many autoimmune diseases, patients often present with overlapping clinical features, making differential diagnosis by symptoms alone nearly impossible.1

Learn more about specific AI diseases
 

Learn about testing for autoimmune diseases

References
  1. Progress in Autoimmune Disease Research. National Institute of Health, Autoimmune Disease Coordinating Committee. 2005, www.niaid.nih.gov/sites/default/files/adccfinal.pdf. Accessed December 2017.
  2. Autoimmune Disease Research Center at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Broad Spectrum of AutoImmune Disease. http://autoimmune.pathology.jhmi.edu/whatis_spectrum.cfm. Accessed October 2017.
  3. Ngo, ST, Steyn FJ, McCombe PA. Gender Differences in Autoimmune Disease. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. 2014;347-369. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302214000466#s0180. Accessed October 2017.
  4. Walsh, SJ, Rau LM.  Autoimmune Diseases: A Leading Cause of Death among Young and Middle-Aged Women in the United States. Am J Public Health. 2000;90:1463-1465.