Achy. Feverish. Tired. Tired. Always so tired. Sound familiar? Have you been wondering what’s going on with your body? Have you ever asked yourself, “Are these autoimmune disease symptoms, or do I just have symptoms because of my busy, stressful life?”
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an autoimmune disease symptom checker on hand so you know how to make your way back to optimal health? We may not have one of those! However, we can supply you with an autoimmune disease symptom checklist and a better understanding of what an autoimmune disease is. This way, you’ll have the information you need to decide how you want to move forward.
Autoimmune Disorder Definition
It seems like the media use the terms autoimmune disease and autoimmune disorder to describe everything. That’s because the term autoimmune disorder covers various diseases that have a few things in common.
- Autoimmune diseases occur when your body’s immune system can’t tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells, so it ends up attacking you and making you sick.
- Autoimmune disease symptoms and severity relate to multiple factors that include genetics, environment, chronic stress, and diet/lifestyle considerations.
- There’s usually no single test to diagnose autoimmune disease. Your doctor considers your symptoms and specific blood markers, and sometimes even a biopsy to diagnose an autoimmune disease.
- Autoimmune diseases share the same symptoms, which also happen to be very common symptoms of other diseases and even lifestyle choices.
The Most Common Autoimmune Diseases
Before we move on to autoimmune disease symptoms, let’s take a quick look at the top 10 most common autoimmune diseases in the US. This will give you a better understanding of what we’re talking about when we say “autoimmune disease.”
The Autoimmune Registry lists the following as the top 10 most common autoimmune diseases.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis
- Celiac disease
- Graves’ disease
- Diabetes mellitus, type 1
- Rheumatic fever
- Pernicious anemia/atrophic gastritis
- Alopecia areata
- Immune thrombocytopenic purpura
As you can see, there’s an extensive range of diseases on this list. However, they all fall under the immune disorder umbrella because they all flare up as a result of your body attacking itself.
There are currently 80 to 100 different autoimmune diseases that affect 23.5 million Americans. In reality, there are likely many more Americans suffering from autoimmune diseases, as they often go undiagnosed. So even though they can be somewhat mysterious, autoimmune diseases are quite common.
Autoimmune Disease Symptom Checklist
Autoimmune diseases can affect various organs, muscles, joints, and other tissues. They also affect more than one part of the body, and your symptoms will depend on the body part(s) affected.
Common symptoms of autoimmune disease include:
Do you wake up tired, force yourself through your day feeling tired, and have trouble concentrating or remembering things? Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of autoimmune disease.
We aren’t talking about the late afternoon naptime crash. We’re talking about profound and debilitating fatigue that prevents you from doing the simplest everyday tasks. Autoimmune diseases like type I diabetes, anemia, pernicious anemia, silent celiac, Addison’s disease, and myocarditis all can knock you out for days or confine you to your bed when not attended to.
Joint pain and swelling
Do you have joint pain or swelling unrelated to any injury or known cause? Joint pain and swelling occur when your body’s immune system attacks itself. The attack causes inflammation, which causes your joint linings to thicken, leading to pain and swelling. Joints usually affected are:
Joint pain and swelling associated with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis come on slowly over time and move around from joint to joint with no rhyme or reason.
Is your skin itchy, red, or swollen for no apparent reason? These can all be signs of autoimmune disorders, including psoriasis, scleroderma, epidermolysis bullosa, dermatomyositis, and bullous pemphigoid.
Abdominal pain or digestive issues
Gut damage is often a result of food allergies, intolerances, exposure to harmful chemicals, and medication side effects. Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus are all autoimmune diseases that have been linked to abdominal pain and digestive issues.
Recurring low-grade fevers
Does it seem like you always have a low-grade fever, but there seems to be no reason for it? Intermittent low-grade fevers with no known origin are a symptom of many autoimmune diseases because your body uses a fever to fight off infection or allergy.
Swollen glands or nodes
Do you get a lump on the side of your throat, have swollen salivary glands, or have signs of other swollen glands? Swollen glands and nodes don’t necessarily mean that something is wrong with you, but they do mean that your immune system is on high alert and in combat.
If you don’t have an obvious sign of infection like a cold or virus, but you have swollen glands, there’s likely an underlying condition that should be uprooted.
Have you been experiencing unexplained pain or numbness, particularly in the extremities? Shooting pain, nerve pain, numbness, muscle weakness, muscle loss, and hypersensitivity to touch are all signs of neuropathy, which is a common symptom of autoimmune disease.
Neuropathy can also affect your brain, spinal cord, and muscles with symptoms that can manifest as brain fog, dizziness, vertigo, poor coordination, and ringing in the ears. Autoimmune diseases of the nervous system include
- multiple sclerosis
- cerebellar ataxia
- Restless Leg Syndrome
Do you feel cold, even when everyone else is perfectly comfortable, or even hot? People who are cold intolerant are extremely sensitive to cold temperatures. Cold intolerance is a common symptom that can indicate an autoimmune disease like Raynaud’s disease and hypothyroidism.
Are You Concerned About Your Health?
As you can see from the above symptom checklist, autoimmune symptoms can easily be confused with a whole host of other symptoms. Therefore, it takes an autoimmune disease specialist or a functional medicine approach to diagnose and treat autoimmune diseases.
At Nava Center, our functional and integrative approach focuses on preventing, restoring, and optimizing your health. We’ll get to the root cause of the problem and provide you with a custom vitality plan to help you live your life at 100%! Contact us for a consultation!