Hashimoto’s thyroiditis has an easy fixAlbina-Glisic/Shutterstock
In this autoimmune condition, the body attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to become underactive (hypothyroidism). According to the American Thyroid Association, as with other autoimmune-related diseases Hashimoto’s symptoms may come on gradually and be very non-specific. They include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, depression, and muscle aches. You may also develop a swelling, called a goiter, in the thyroid, located at the front of the neck. Luckily, a blood test for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) can detect if your levels are low, and thyroid hormone replacement meds are very effective and have no side effects. Another thyroid-related autoimmune condition is Graves’ disease, which causes your thyroid to be overactive (hyperthyroid). Should you get your thyroid hormone levels checked?
Celiac disease can have lasting damageGayvoronskaya_Yana/Shutterstock
The trigger for celiac disease is clear: When you eat gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) the body attacks the small intestine, causing long-term damage that could prevent the absorption of nutrients. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it’s also genetic, so having an immediate family member with it gives you a 1 in 10 chance of developing the condition yourself. Although adults might have digestive symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating, more than half do not, according to the Mayo Clinic. Instead, symptoms may include anemia, fatigue, bone or joint pain, depression, or skin rash. Treatment is a gluten-free diet, and since there are so many hidden places to find gluten (including non-foods like vitamins, lipstick, and toothpaste), it’s important to work with a dietitian to help you along. Another tummy-related autoimmune condition is inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. How is celiac disease linked with an eating disorder?
Psoriasis is very visibleTernavskaia-Olga-Alibec/Shutterstock
Although it looks like a bad skin rash, psoriasis isn’t contagious. It’s caused when the body attacks its own skin cells, making too many new ones and causing a thick, red, scaly buildup. A recent study from Sweden found that severe psoriasis is actually more common in men than women. “Interestingly, men often have worse prognosis and more severe autoimmune diseases than women,” Dr. Cihakova says. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 30 percent of people with it will also develop psoriasis arthritis, a joint inflammation, although it’s not exactly clear why. For psoriasis, treatments may include topical creams for mild cases, and a combo of creams and oral meds for more severe cases. Controlled exposure to sunlight may also help. Other skin-related autoimmune conditions include vitiligo, in which the skin’s pigment is attacked, causing it to lose its color; and scleroderma, which causes an overgrowth of collagen. Here are more surprising signs of disease your skin can reveal.