What is an Autoimmune Disorder?

Autoimmune conditions occur when the body incorrectly identifies something not native to the body and creates an immune response to reject it. When the immune system works right, it keeps you healthy by fighting off intruding unhealthy organisms and even cancerous cells. But with autoimmune conditions, the body revs up your immune system to fight against its own cells, which causes a multitude of problems. 

Autoimmune disorders can attack any part of the body. However, some of these become most apparent in how they affect the skin. With most autoimmune disorders of the skin, patients experience both systemic manifestations and symptoms on the skin. 

What Are the Most Common Autoimmune Disorders of the Skin?

Autoimmune skin diseases most commonly associated with skin symptoms include: 

  • Psoriasis
  • Lupus
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
  • Scleroderma 
  • Autoimmune blistering disorders 

For most of these autoimmune disorders of the skin, patients experience systemic complications such as ulcers, joint inflammation, weakened muscles, and damage to internal organs. Few autoimmune disorders only attack the skin. Lupus is one of the exceptions — it can affect the body and the skin or only the skin depending on the type.

What Are the Treatment Options for Autoimmune Disorders?

Autoimmune disease treatments may include drugs that suppress your immune system as well as therapies that target the specific organs affected.

The most common drugs used to treat autoimmune disorders include:

  • Immunosuppressant drugs
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Corticosteroids

What Should You Expect During Treatment?

In general, treatments can’t cure autoimmune diseases. Instead, they focus on controlling the autoimmune reaction and reducing pain and inflammation.

Treatments are also available to relieve the symptoms of autoimmune disorders like fatigue, rashes, and swelling.

Autoimmune Disorder FAQs

What Do I Do If I Suspect An Autoimmune Disorder of the Skin?

Anytime you experience a persistent skin rash, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. You may be dealing with a simple topical allergy, eczema, or a more complicated issue like an autoimmune skin disease. A dermatologist is best suited to check the skin for an accurate diagnosis and begin a treatment plan to provide relief to your symptoms right away.

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