Autoimmune and Blood Diseases

The Facts

Autoimmune Disease

In an autoimmune disease, the body's immune system attacks healthy cells in the body. The immune system is made up of organ and cells that defend the body from bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. Normally, the immune system is able to tell the difference between self (your own body) and non-self (what’s foreign). When someone has an autoimmune disease, that person’s immune system is unable to differentiate between self and non-self, which results in a mistaken attack and destroy health tissue of their own body.

Some examples of autoimmune disease include:

  • celiac disease (a hereditary autoimmune condition in which a person has a delayed allergic reaction to gluten, a protein that causes dough to be sticky)
  • Graves’ disease (an immune system disorder that causes overproduction of thyroid hormones)
  • inflammatory bowel disease (chronic inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract; includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • multiple sclerosis (a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord)
  • myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disease of the neuromuscular junction, the contact point between nerves and muscles)
  • psoriasis (an inflammatory skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells)
  • rheumatoid arthritis (a progressive, chronic condition that causes the lining of your joints or other body areas to become inflamed)
  • Sjögren's syndrome (the body's immune system attacks the glands that produce moisture in the mouth and eyes, leading to dry eyes and mouth)
  • systemic lupus erythematosus (a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any part of the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, and nervous system)
  • type 1 diabetes (the body does not make enough insulin and/or the insulin being made cannot be used properly by the body, causing increased blood sugar levels)

Read more about different types of autoimmune diseases by clicking the links below.


Blood Disorders

Blood is a living tissue made up of plasma (the liquid part, consisting of water, salts, and proteins) and cells (the solid part, consisting of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets). A blood disorder can affect how your blood functions in the body.

Examples of blood disorders include:

  • anemia (a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the body)
  • blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma
  • blood clots
  • hemophilia (a rare bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot normally)


Read more about different types of blood disorders by clicking the links below.