Could Autoimmune Disease Run In Your Family?


Over 25 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease - a condition in which your immune system attacks your own body. More than one autoimmune disease may appear in individuals and in families as a result of a genetic variant. Once you develop one autoimmune disease, your risk of developing additional autoimmune illnesses increases. Here are the top seven symptoms of autoimmune disease:

Muscle and Joint Pain – Occasional muscle soreness or stiffness is something many of us experience from time to time. A history of slow, progressive muscle or joint pain, stiffness, and a tendency to get injured easily can, however, be symptoms of an autoimmune disease in the making. These symptoms are usually not traceable to a past injury and may move from one area of the body to another. Swelling and redness can also accompany these symptoms, making physical activity more difficult and making you even more prone to injuries. Over the counter pain relievers and prescription medications can reduce your pain and inflammation, but these drugs do not get at the root cause of your problem. Autoimmune illnesses that affect your muscles and joints include:

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis

  • Several types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis

  • Dermatomyositis

  • Lupus

  • Myalgia

  • Scleroderma

Neuropathy – Tingling, numbness, increased sensitivity to touch as well as shooting pains in the arms or legs can be a sign of an autoimmune disease. Additional symptoms can include muscle weakness, poor balance, dizziness as well as brain fog. Autoimmune illnesses that affect your nervous system include:

  • ALS

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Restless Leg Syndrome

  • Polyneuropathy

Excessive Fatigue - We all feel exhausted from time to time, but excessive fatigue that occurs daily - and in spite of getting enough sleep may be related to an autoimmune disease like:

  • Addison's Disease

  • Autoimmune Gastritis

  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

  • Silent Celiac Disease

  • Type 1 Diabetes

Digestive Disorders - Abdominal cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea may signal the start of an autoimmune illness. That's because digestive symptoms can be an early warning sign of a leaky gut, a condition associated with many autoimmune diseases. If you've been suffering from any of these digestive disorders, it's important to have them evaluated by a qualified healthcare professional. Anemia - There are many causes of anemia (a deficiency of red blood cells), some of which can be traced back to an underlying autoimmune disease. If you suffer from symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, cold intolerance, leg cramps, and shortness of breath, you may have anemia and should see a qualified healthcare professional. Anemia is often found in such autoimmune diseases as Celiac Disease, Crohn's Disease, and even Multiple Sclerosis. Cold Intolerance - The inability to tolerate cold, as mentioned above, can be sign of anemia. It can also be caused by an autoimmune illness like Raynaud's Disease where fingers and toes are become numb and cold when exposed to cold temperatures or to stress. Low Grade Fevers - Autoimmune diseases can result from a past infection that causes your immune system to attack your own tissues. A fever is typically your immune's system's response to an infection, but it may also be due to a food sensitivity. Frequent low grade fevers may be a sign that you have an underlying autoimmune disease. Your environment, diet, and genes all play a role in the development of autoimmune disease. Triggers for autoimmune disease include certain food sensitivities, infections, and toxins, including cigarette smoke. Early detection of an autoimmune process is the key to limiting possible damage and improving your health. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed here, be sure to have them properly evaluated by a qualified healthcare professional. For more information, please contact us.

~ Dr.Sarah Williams ~ Concord & Nantucket,Massachusetts ~

The contents of this blog are intended for educational purposes only. The information presented here is not a substitute for proper medical attention, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or making any changes to an existing treatment plan, exercise program or dietary regimen and before using nutritional supplements.

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