Autoimmune disease is a broad category of related diseases in which a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues and organs it was designed to protect. Normally, the body’s immune system protects it by responding to invading microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. The immune system produces antibodies, which are special proteins that recognize and destroy the invaders. Autoimmune diseases occur when these autoantibodies attack the body’s own cells, tissues, and organs.
- There are more than 100 autoimmune diseases.
- 50 million Americans have one or more autoimmune disease.
- Approximately 75% of those affected are women.
- Autoimmune diseases are not contagious nor infectious. They are usually chronic and can cause major organ damage and, in some cases, be life-threatening.
Scientists do not yet fully understand the immune system and what causes the body to produce an immune response to itself. However, there are several triggers which play a role in developing an autoimmune disease. Bacteria, viruses, toxins, hormones, significant stress, and some drugs may trigger an autoimmune response in a person who already has a genetic predisposition to develop an autoimmune disease.
The most common autoimmune diseases in women are:
Currently there is no single test can diagnose most autoimmune diseases. Your doctor will use a combination of tests and a review of your symptoms and physical examination to diagnose you. The antinuclear antibody test (ANA) is often one of the first tests that doctors use when symptoms suggest an autoimmune disease. A positive test means you may have one of these diseases, but it will not confirm exactly which one you have or if you have one for sure.
In general, autoimmune disorders cannot be cured, but the condition can be controlled in many cases. Treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Pain-killing medication.
- Immunosuppressant drugs.
- Physical therapy.
- Treatment for the deficiency.
- High dose immunosuppression.
Autoimmune disorders can make it difficult to work. The insurance company will examine your disorder and how your symptoms prevent you from working. Your insurer may deny your claim if it believes your symptoms are not debilitating enough.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an autoimmune disease, or any other illness, and you are being denied benefits by your insurer, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation at 888-569-6013 or use our online contact form. We understand, and we can help.