Many symptoms of autoimmunity overlap with those of other chronic illnesses. A majority of people who are diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder have a history of running from pillar to post before an official diagnosis is made. This is majorly due to the ambiguous nature of the symptoms.
More 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, thyroid disease, lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis which can manifest as different symptoms. Here are 6 signs that indicate you could be having an autoimmune condition.
1. Headaches And Disorientation
Severe headaches, brain fogs and inability to focus have been reported in individuals suffering from autoimmunity. These headaches can be like migraines or cluster type with pain that persists for more than 30 minutes. The headaches worsen at night and during winter.
Scientific reports claim that in disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus and related diseases, systemic vasculitides, and central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis, headache is a common symptom.1
2. Rashes And Other Skin Problems
Scleroderma, psoriasis, dermatomyositis, epidermolysis bullosa, and bullous pemphigoid are some autoimmune skin disorders. The skin-related symptoms can be rashes, flaky or thickened patches, blisters and change in pigmentation. The quality of hair and nails get affected too in many of these conditions.2
3. Breathing Trouble And Respiratory Infections
Breathlessness, runny noses, nosebleeds, sinus pain, ear infections, blood in sputum and sinusitis are all manifestations of autoimmune disorders that attack the lungs. Many individuals get temporary relief from the symptoms through medications for years together before they get the actual diagnosis of autoimmunity.
Important lung autoimmune disorders are Wegener’s Granulomatosis, diffuse alveolar hemorrhage syndrome
pulmonary-renal syndrome, Goodpasture syndrome, and sarcoidosis.3
4. Weight-Related Changes And Fatigue
Losing and gaining weight can happen very drastically if you are suffering from an autoimmune condition. Weight gain is often associated with sluggishness and other signs of hypothyroidism. But if you are losing weight without any particular diet or workout you could be suffering from an overactive thyroid or adrenal gland, diabetes mellitus or celiac disease.4
5. Muscle And Joint Pain
Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and polymyalgia rheumatica are the most prevalent types of autoimmune disorders that affect the muscles, joints, and nerves. People suffering from these conditions experience increasing degrees of stiffness in joints, soreness in muscles, pain, and loss of function. Anxiety, disturbed sleep, and overall weakness also occur as the conditions progress.
6. Indigestion And Other Digestive Issues
Even a minor stomach bug can make anyone feel sick and unwell. Autoimmune conditions that affect the digestive system are Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, IBD, IBS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, interstitial cystitis and multiple sclerosis. The symptoms are usually abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and vomiting. These signs could be very frequent and almost crippling on most days. Autoimmunity can hinder effective digestion, absorption, and elimination of food leading to weight loss or gain, fatigue, and many other issues.5
Almost all of these signs appear in combination with one another. Keep track of how often you experience them and seek medical attention soon.An early diagnosis can be very helpful in adopting new lifestyle changes that are centered around managing your autoimmunity.
|↑1||John, Seby, and Rula A. Hajj‐Ali. “Headache in autoimmune diseases.” Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 54, no. 3 (2014): 572-582.|
|↑2||Skin can show first signs of some internal diseases. American Academy of Dermatology|
|↑3||COJOCARU, Manole, Inimioara Mihaela Cojocaru, Isabela Silosi, and Camelia Doina Vrabie. “Pulmonary manifestations of systemic autoimmune diseases.” Maedica 6, no. 3 (2011): 224.|
|↑4||Iddah, M. A., and B. N. Macharia. “Autoimmune thyroid disorders.” ISRN endocrinology 2013 (2013).|
|↑5||Campbell, Andrew W. “Autoimmunity and the gut.” Autoimmune diseases 2014 (2014)|