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Autoimmune disease

Author:Ellen Z

Autoimmune disease refers to the immune system recognizing your body cells as foreign invaders, and it starts to attack your healthy cells, tissues, and organs mistakenly, which can affect the normal functions of the body. (Autoimmune Diseases, 2023). There are about 80 types of autoimmune diseases and 5% of people in China have it (Statista, 2021). Most of these diseases cannot be cured, and some need lifelong treatment to control the symptoms. This article will introduce two autoimmune diseases with their causes, symptoms, and treatment methods.

Firstly, type 1 diabetes. Patient that suffering the type 1 diabetes cannot secrete and release insulin, which is a chemical that can convert excess glucose in the body to glycogen, which is insoluble, for storage. Without insulin, the blood sugar concentration will increase due to the build-up of glucose in the blood. The cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown, scientists thought that the causes might be the genetic or environment factors. In patients with the disease, the immune system attacks and destroys cells that produce insulin in the pancreas (Type 1 Diabetes, 2022). Unable to secrete insulin leads to glucose accumulation in the blood, and cells will lack of nutrients, it also causes high blood sugar and lowers the blood’s water potential.

The symptoms are: thirst, blurred vision, weak immunity, and fatigue. Moreover, it can cause hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. People with diabetes need to inject insulin regularly to maintain their blood sugar levels in a normal range. They also need to eat a healthy diet to manage their blood sugar levels and have exercises to make the body use blood sugar efficiently (Treatment & Care | ADA, n.d.).

Secondly, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect a patient’s joints, skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. It is also an autoimmune disease that a patient’s immune system attacks the healthy tissue in their joints (Rheumatoid Arthritis – Diagnosis and Treatment – Mayo Clinic, 2021). It is thought to be due to the genetic factors reacting to environmental factors such as infection with certain pathogens. The symptoms are swelling in joints, due to the inflammation (DiGiacinto, 2021). Also, the patient may suffer from fatigue because energy is used to defense against inflammation. In addition, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but some medications can reduce or ease the symptoms, such as NSAIDs, which can relieve pain and reduce inflammation, and steroids, which can slow down the joint damage. There are also surgery methods, such as synovectomy, which uses surgery to remove the inflamed lining of the joints, tendon repair, joint fusion, and total joint replacement, but the surgery carries a risk of bleeding and pain (Rheumatoid Arthritis – Diagnosis and Treatment – Mayo Clinic, 2021b).

In conclusion, autoimmune disease is caused by the dysfunction of immune cells recognizing our own cells as non-self and starting off a series of reactions to attack them. Most diseases are no cure and the cause is still unknown. Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are two autoimmune diseases


Autoimmune Diseases. (2023, January 20). National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

DiGiacinto, J. (2021, August 12). Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Healthline.

Rheumatoid arthritis – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. (2021a, May 18).

Rheumatoid arthritis – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. (2021b, May 18).

Statista. (2021, June 14). Prevalence of diagnosed autoimmune conditions in selected countries 2019.

Treatment & Care | ADA. (n.d.).

Type 1 Diabetes. (2022, June 24). Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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