There are many different types of immune disorders, and they are typically categorized in two sub-types. Systemic immune disorders describe a condition where the immune disorder affects more than one organ in the body, whereas localized immune disorders typically only affect one organ. Some of the more common types of systemic immune disorders include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Common types of localized immune disorders include diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, and Addison’s disease. Immune disorders typically describe diseases where the immune system mistakenly targets and destroys healthy tissue within the body, though some immune disorders involve a weakened immune system.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that usually causes inflammation and deterioration of joints. It can develop in any joints in the body, but most commonly affects hands and wrists. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by bacterial infections within joints or the tissue surrounding joints. It can affect people of any age group, though it is more common in people over the age of 30, and seems to be more common in women than in men. Rheumatoid arthritis is a non-contagious systemic immune disorder, and once the immune system begins attacking joint tissue, it typically spreads, and may also attack healthy tissue in the lungs and other organs.
Lupus is another type of systemic immune disorder, and like rheumatoid arthritis, it too is more common in women than in men. It is not believed to be contagious, and the exact cause of the disease has not been determined. Some research seems to show that lupus may be at least in part due to genetics, as people who have relatives who suffer from the disease have a higher risk of contracting lupus themselves. Some researchers believe there may be an environmental trigger that brings about the onset of lupus. Smoking and exposure to ultraviolent light are possibly linked to the disease.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune disorder that primarily affects the nervous system. It is considered a localized disorder, but because it attacks the nervous system, the symptoms can exhibit in many parts of the body. MS is a disease that causes the immune system to attack the protective coating of nerves. The severity of the disease varies greatly from one individual to another, but in very extreme cases, suffers may be unable to walk or speak. There is currently no cure for MS.
Acquired immune deficiency disorder (AIDS) is a completely different type of immune disorder. AIDS is not characterized by the immune system attacking healthy tissue, instead it is a condition where the immune system is so weakened that it does not function well enough to combat illnesses. Unlike most other immune disorders, AIDS is considered contagious, through exchange of body fluids such as mucus or blood.