Signs and Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune disease is on the rise and collectively is one of the top 10 leading causes of death and disability.
Autoimmune conditions come in many different types but all are triggered by the same mechanism – systemic inflammation that causes the body to mistakenly attack itself. The body is designed to defend itself against foreign invaders such as toxins, allergens, inflections, and sometimes even certain types of foods. But, for a variety of reasons, the body gets confused and attacks various organs and/or systems in the body.
A larger percentage of people with autoimmune disease are women.
An autoimmune attack can happen in different areas or systems within the body ranging from thyroid (very common) to lupus, psoriasis, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and other debilitating conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and many more.
One of the biggest problems with autoimmune disease is that many people suffering do not get properly diagnosed. Patients go to see their doctor with mysterious and elusive symptoms, usually including fatigue and depression, and most doctors are not able to put the pieces of the puzzle together to properly diagnose it as an autoimmune attack. This results in many patients suffering for years without proper treatment.
Are you concerned you might have an autoimmune condition? Below are 16 signs you may have an autoimmune disease. Many people suffering with autoimmunity have some or all.
16 Signs of Autoimmune Disease
(Autoimmune Disease Signs and Symptoms)
1. Extreme Fatigue
Many people suffering with autoimmunity also experience extreme fatigue, even if they are getting adequate sleep. It never seems to be enough. They are tired all the time.
2. Brain Fog
Brain fog, including an inability to concentrate, memory issues, confusion and forgetfulness is a common condition that results from autoimmune disease as a result of chronic systemic inflammation as well as a break-down in the blood-brain barrier.
3. Anxiety and/or Depression
Emotional instability, moodiness, panic attacks, irritability and a general lack of joy can all result from autoimmune disease and is indeed very common amongst sufferers.
4. Sleep Disturbances and/or Insomnia
Sleep disturbances and/or insomnia are common in patients with autoimmune conditions.
5. Weight Loss or Weight Gain
Changes in weight for no apparent reason can indicate autoimmunity, particularly thyroid conditions.
A general feeling of weakness in the body is indicative of autoimmune. If you feel like you’re just not as strong as you used to be or if climbing a single flight of stairs causes your muscles to burn, this could be a sign of autoimmune disease.
7. Joint and/or Muscle Pain
Likewise, joint and/or muscle pain is also a common symptom of autoimmune.
8. Skin Issues
Eczema, rashes, itchy and dry skin can all be associated with autoimmunity. A butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks can be cause for concern in a condition called lupus. Extremely itchy skin can be indicative of a condition called dermatitis herpetiformis (a form of celiac disease). Acne can also be an indication that the patient has leaky gut. Dry skin can be a sign of hypothyroid or Hashimoto’s disease.
9. Temperature Intolerance
Feeling very cold or hot can indicate that the immune system is dealing with a self-attack. If you are cold all the time or intolerant to cold temperatures, this can be a sign of autoimmune disease. Likewise, having a frequent low-grade fever, can be another sign.
Resources on Autoimmune Disease:
- The Autoimmune Epidemic
- The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases
- The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook
10. Numb or Tingling Extremities
Numbness and tingling in the extremities can be a sign of autoimmunity.
11. Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common symptom of several autoimmune conditions.
12. Recurrent Headaches, Migraines, or Vertigo
Autoimmune conditions can often cause headaches, migraines, or vertigo.
13. Digestion Issues
Experiencing gas, bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea or food intolerances can all be a sign that autoimmune disease is brewing. Many conventional doctors may be dismissive of these symptoms, but these are not normal and not something to ignore or treat symptomatically.
14. Allergies or Intolerances
Oftentimes people with an autoimmune disorder will have allergies or intolerances to foods, chemicals and environmental factors.
15. Hormonal Imbalances/PMS
Autoimmune symptoms often increase before or during a woman’s menstrual cycle. If you are having PMS and/or hormonal imbalances, it is important to also be evaluated for autoimmune conditions.
16. Unresolved Symptoms
If you’ve been to many doctors for your symptoms and your still not getting well, you very well could be suffering with an autoimmune condition and a proper evaluation is critical.
See this video, How to Know If You Are Autoimmune by Dr. David Clark:
Conventional medical doctors are often not trained on how to comprehensively evaluate the body for autoimmunity and then treat it from a standpoint of reducing inflammation to halt the autoimmune response.
Many autoimmune diseases can be controlled with a combination of medication, supplements, and a strict diet such as the autoimmune paleo diet (AIP), specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), or variations thereof.