My Spoonie Sisters

Discovering the World of Autoimmune Diseases

June 05, 2023 Host: Jenni Weaver Season 2 Episode 25
My Spoonie Sisters
Discovering the World of Autoimmune Diseases
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Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever wondered about the mysterious world of autoimmune diseases? This episode is your ultimate guide to understanding some of the most common autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, Hashimoto's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and celiac disease. Listen in as we explore information and symptoms of each disease, arming you with valuable knowledge to better understand these challenging conditions.

Get ready to learn about the various types of psoriasis, including plaque, nail, guttate, inverse, erythrodermic, and lesser-known pustular arthritis. Plus, we'll shed light on celiac disease – an autoimmune reaction to gluten that affects 1 in 133 Americans. By the end of this episode, you'll be well-informed about these prevalent autoimmune diseases and gain a deeper appreciation of their impact on the lives of those affected. Don't miss this insightful and informative episode covering information with Dr. Google!

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Speaker 1:

Hi, my Spoonie sisters, i'm your host, gracefully, jen and I didn't have an episode for this week, but I decided to take some inspiration from some recent posts that I shared with you and recognize that there are more than 80,000 recognized types of autoimmune diseases to date. There are several which affect more individuals than others, so I gotta stop saying that word. I want to share with you some of the ones that I highlighted in my recent post on Instagram, so we're going to go through here, starting with lupus. It is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting women more than men, and is often misdiagnosed. Lupus is a disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs, hence autoimmune disease. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. This can also be a difficult one to diagnose, because it's signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The more distinctive sign of lupus is often noticed by people as being the facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks. It occurs in many, but not all, cases of lupus, and so quite often we will see people with that, and that's kind of that telltale sign, right. So lupus can be difficult to diagnose because of all of that right. Let's keep moving on to hear about some of these other ones, because they are hard to diagnose as well. Hashimoto's it affects over 14 million Americans and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism or low thyroid. So Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly shaped we're getting that again gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam's apple. I don't have one, but if you're watching it'd be right around there. The thyroid produces hormones that help regulate many functions in the body. An autoimmune disorder is an illness caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissues, and in Hashimoto's disease, immune system cells lead to the death of the thyroid hormone producing cells. The disease usually results in a decline in hormone production, causing hypothyroidism. The next one rheumatoid arthritis. That's what I have, so I know a little bit more about this one. It's a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints and some people. The condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. That's why many in our community don't even call it rheumatoid arthritis. A lot of us will call it rheumatoid disease because so many people get stuck on the arthritis part and don't recognize that it's an autoimmune condition that affects more things. So it's an autoimmune disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues. Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first, particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet. These are locations that I flare in all the time. As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body. About 40% of people who have rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don't involve the joints. Areas that may be affected include the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow and blood vessels, just to name a few. Alright, next one, we're going to talk about multiple sclerosis. It is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath It's called the myelin sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage and deterioration of the nerve fibers. Yeah, picture them eating away. Yeah, eating away at your nerve fibers, your myelin sheath. Signs and symptoms of MS very widely between patients and depend on the location and the severity of nerve fiber damage in the central nerve system. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or ambulate at all. Other conditions may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms, depending on the type of MS they have. There's no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, there are treatments to help speed the recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms. Okay, here's a biggie Cereiosis. Cereiosis is an autoimmune condition affecting about 7 million Americans Americans I can't even talk today with symptoms including itchy, red patches of skin covered with natural scales that can appear anywhere on the body, and I mean anywhere. Cereiosis is a skin disease that causes a rash with itchy, scaling patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. Cereiasis is a common long-term chronic disease with no cure. It can be painful, interfere of sleep and make it hard to concentrate. The condition tends to go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a while. Common triggers in people with a genetic predisposition I can't even say that word straight. Two. Psoriasis include infections, cuts or burns and certain medications. There are several types of psoriasis. Each varies in the signs and symptoms, so I'm going to cover a few of them. Plaxoriasis, the most common type of psoriasis. Plaxoriasis causes dry, itchy, raised skin patches. These are called plaques and they're covered with scales. There may be a few or many. They usually appear on the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp. The patches vary in color depending on skin color. The affected skin might heal with temporary changes in color, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, particularly on brown or black skin. Then there's also nail psoriasis. This is where the psoriasis can affect your fingernails and your toenails, causing pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. Stoicatic nails might loosen and separate from the nail bed. I'm not even going to try to pronounce that word. Severe disease may cause the nail to crumble. Okay, i feel like I'm going to butcher this word, but I'm going to try anyway. Agutate psoriasis This primarily affects young adults and children. It's usually triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. It's marked by small, drop-shaped scaling spots on the trunk, arms and legs. Inversoriasis This mainly affects the skin folds of the groin, buttocks and breasts. It causes smooth patches of inflamed skin that worsen with friction and sweating. Bungal infections may trigger this type of psoriasis. Pustular psoriasis Pustular psoriasis is a rare type. It usually causes clearly defined pus-filled blisters. It can occur in widespread patches or on small areas of the palms or soles. Okay, and then there is one Oh gosh, how am I going to try to pronounce this word? Earththrondermic psoriasis, the least common type of psoriasis. This one can cover the entire body with a peeling rash that can itch or burn intensely. It can be short-lived, acute or long-term chronic. It didn't even cover psoriasic arthritis. I'm surprised, but we definitely are going to cover that in the future. So, moving on, my computer will move with me. Let's see here. Okay, we've got a celiac disease. This is an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a natural protein found in common grains like wheat and rye, which affect one out of every 133 Americans. That's a lot. Celiac disease, sometimes called celiac spru or glue sensitive enteropathy, is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, fairly common. If you have C-react disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time this reaction damages your small intestines in the lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients. So that causes the mal-absorption The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating, anemia, and it can lead to serious complications as well. The signs and symptoms of C-react disease can vary greatly and differ in children and adults. Digestive signs and symptoms for adults can include diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and gas, abnormal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation. However, more than half the adults who see C-react disease have signs and symptoms unrelated to the digestive system, including anemia, usually from iron deficiency, loss of bone density, osteoporosis or softening of bones, itchy, blistering skin rash, mouth ulcers, headaches and fatigue. Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, possible problems with balance and cognitive impairment. Joint pain and reduced function of the spleen. Wow, alright. And here is the last one of our common autoimmune diseases. This one, i don't even think a lot of people realize that it's an autoimmune disease. At least, i know that I didn't for the longest time. This is type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. It's a chronic condition. It's never going to go away. In this condition, the pancreas makes a little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body uses to allow sugar or glucose to enter cells to produce energy. Different factors, such as genetics and some viruses may cause type 1 diabetes, although type 1 usually appears during childhood or adolescence, but it can sometimes develop in adults. So here's the symptoms. Type 1 diabetes sometimes can appear suddenly and may include filling more thirsty than usual, urinating a lot, bed wedding and children who have never wet the bed during the night, feeling very hungry, losing weight without trying, feeling irritable or having other mood changes, feeling tired and weak, having blurry vision. Even after a lot of research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. Treatment is directed toward managing the amount of sugar in the blood using insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications. Wow, this is a lot And honestly, you can find this, all of this information, anywhere on the internet. But it's crazy to me And I guess it's never stopped being crazy to me that we have so many autoimmune and chronic conditions out there that overlap and have so many similar symptoms. It's just crazy and baffling to me, and I once had a friend tell me in the early years of my diagnosis that autoimmune likes friends, and the more that I've gotten to know and the more that I've unpacked all this stuff, it's true. It's true. You talk to a lot of the people in our community and you're going to find out they have more than one condition. But I think, as patients, it's up to us to really do our part in digging and seeing how we can help provide information to our doctors. We need to make sure we are concentrating on tracking everything. Track your symptoms, track what's going on. If you're having stomach problems, track what you're eating. Track when you're going to the bathroom. If you're having lightheaded problems. Track that. How often is it happening. Is it happening during certain times of the day, like whatever your things are, whatever your symptoms are, track them. The more information that we can give to our specialists, to our doctors, the more they can help us dig deep, figure out what's going on And some of these things. They can be something genetically passed down or like a Lyme and several others. It can be from a bite and infection. We need to figure out how we can live our best life. Alright, until next time, don't forget your spoon.