An autoimmune disorder arises from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. The causes of autoimmune disorders are still obscure, and most of these disorders are probably the result of multiple circumstances: for example, a genetic predisposition triggered by an infection.
Women tend to be affected more often by autoimmune disorders, nearly 79% of autoimmune disease patients in the USA are women . It is not known why this is the case, although hormone levels have been shown to affect the severity of the disease .
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Below is a listing of actual and suspected autoimmune disorders, with brief descriptions and pointers to full articles.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), is an acquired immune-mediated inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nervous system (e.g. not the brain and spinal column). It is also called acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, acute idiopathic polyradiculneuritis, acute idiopathic polyneuritis and Landry's ascending paralysis.
Lupus erythematosus is an is a chronic (long-lasting) autoimmune disease where the immune system, for unknown reasons, becomes hyperactive and attacks normal tissue. This attack results in inflammation and brings about symptoms.
Myasthenia gravis is a disorder of neuromuscular transmission leading to fluctuating weakness and fatigue. Weakness is caused by circulating antibodies that block acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction.
Interstitial cystitis, has been theorized to be an autoimmune disorder. It is a urinary bladder disease that is characterised by pelvic pain, urinary frequency (as often as every 30 minutes), pain with sexual intercourse, but no pain with urination.
Neuromyotonia is spontaneous muscular activity resulting from repetitive motor unit action potentials of peripheral origin. It develops as a result of both acquired or hereditary diseases. The acquired form is more frequent and is usually caused by antibodies against neuromuscular junction.
Scleroderma is a chronic disease characterized by excessive deposits of collagen. Progressive systemic scleroderma, the serious type of the disease, can be fatal. The local type of the disease is not serious.
Vitiligo is the spontaneous loss of pigment from areas of skin. The pigment-free areas have few or no melanocytes. Researchers have detected anti-melanocyte antibodies in some cases of vitiligo, so it seems likely that at least some instances of this condition are the result of autoimmune problems.
The term vulvodynia is used to describe pain in the vulva, often severe, of unknown cause. "Vulvar vestibulitis" is a related term.
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