Identifying an autoimmune disease

Worldwide, millions of people suffer from a range of autoimmune diseases with various manifestations and severities. All these diseases affect the body’s immune system, and may cause serious and chronic health problems.

The role of the immune system is to protect the body from external influences such as viruses or bacteria. If the body's immune system becomes misdirected, attacking the very organs it evolved to protect, an autoimmune disease may result.

Common examples are the autoimmune thyroid diseases Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease. The immune system attacks the thyroid gland and provokes an inflammation that means the thyroid gland can no longer work properly.

Millions of people suffer from autoimmune diseases, with women far more affected than men are. The list includes diseases of the nervous, gastrointestinal and endocrine systems as well as of the skin and other connective tissues, the eyes, blood and blood vessels.

Today, a diverse group of more than 80 serious, chronic illnesses are known.