Autoimmune illnesses are like cancer in that autoimmunity is an umbrella term for a number of different diseases across a number of different medical specialties including rheumatology, endocrinology, hematology, neurology, cardiology, gastroenterology and dermatology. Because individual specialists focus on singular diseases within their field of expertise, there is very little focus on autoimmunity as the underlying cause. I’ve seen a number of websites – most put incidence figures anywhere between 5% and 20% of a population.
What’s the actual definition of autoimmune disease? According to MedicineNet.com “Autoimmune disease: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system.”
Who is at risk? Again, MedicineNet.com says “Autoimmune diseases are more frequent in women than in men. It is felt that the estrogen of females may influence the immune system to predispose some women to autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, the presence of one autoimmune disease increases the chance for developing another simultaneous autoimmune disease.”
I wanted to write about endometriosis and autoimmunity because, like mice, where you find one, you’re likely to find several. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve got two so far:
- Lichen Planus – skin lesions
For many years women with endometriosis were thought to have a hypersensitivity to pain. The autoimmune nature of Endometriosis was confirmed in 2008 when researchers at National Jewish Hospital inDenverdiscovered endometrial antibodies. This coupled with retrograde menstrual tissues give rise to endometriosis lesions. Read on for more information:
Of course I concentrate on my most debilitating autoimmune illness but there are a lot out there! If you’ve not been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and are wondering about general symptoms, these include:
This list rings a few bells with me. I’ve always had a fever – low-grade but I’ve always been warm. Mom, do you remember how I’ve always had a low-grade fever? My ex-husband used to call me “radiator woman” and put his icy feet on me. To this day I prefer colder climates to hot ones due to my constant slight fever.
Wishing us all a healthy future.