Autoimmune syndrome refers to a range of diseases. They are characterized by the body's immune system mistakenly attacking the body. Overall, women are more likely to suffer from an autoimmune disease
The exact cause of autoimmune diseases is still being debated by scientists. The most common theory is that it somehow involves the body losing its ability to distinguish between its own components and pathogens. These are things such as diseases and bacteria which attack the body.
There are many diseases which are can be classified as an autoimmune syndrome. Perhaps the best known is multiple sclerosis, which attacks communication between the brain and the spinal cord. Celiac disease, in which a reaction to a protein found in wheat leads to problems with the small intestine, is also an autoimmune disease. Another is Lupus erythematosus, often known simply as lupus, which causes the immune system to attack tissues and organs.
There are other diseases which are related to autoimmune syndrome. For example, the causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not known for certain. However, autoimmunity is known to make the effects worse and more persistent. It's also been argued that type 2 diabetes is an autoimmune disease.
Some diseases have similar symptoms to many autoimmune diseases, but are not autoimmune diseases themselves. These include chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Though they both involve muscle pain and fatigue, they are not believed to be caused by the immune system attacking itself.
Overall, around 75% of people who suffer from an autoimmune disease are women. The cause of this imbalance isn't entirely understood, though it appears to be genetic. There is also a theory that the imbalance is heightened by mothers-to-be exchanging cells with their child during pregnancy. There are some autoimmune diseases which affect men and women relatively equally.
In most cases, an autoimmune disease cannot be treated in itself. Instead medical treatment attempts to help reduce the symptoms of the disease. This can range from over-the-counter medicines for minor symptoms to prescription drugs for more serious symptoms. In some cases, medicines can slow down the progress of a disease. There are also some autoimmune diseases where problems can be avoided, for example Celiac disease sufferers not eating wheat.
It's important to note that autoimmune syndrome should not be confused with Aids. This stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The condition does not attack the body by itself. Instead it leaves the body much more susceptible to other infections and tumors.