5 Fatal Autoimmune Diseases To Know About
The major role of our immune system is to recognize and protect from disease-causing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. However, sometimes, the components of the immune system react with the proteins in our body mistakenly and cause autoimmune diseases. There are around eighty types of autoimmune disorders affecting different body parts. Some autoimmune diseases negatively impact the quality of life, and some can be fatal. Here are the five fatal autoimmune diseases to know about.
What Are The Most Serious Autoimmune Diseases?
There are many autoimmune diseases which are diagnosed globally. But among those few diseases can lead to serious complications and can be fatal sometimes, so immediate treatment is mandatory in such cases. Here are some lists of the most serious autoimmune diseases which are briefed in-depth and give a clear explanation about the question such as are autoimmune diseases fatal?
1. Giant Cell Myocarditis
Giant cell myocarditis is a very rare autoimmune disorder causing inflammation of the heart. It progresses very quickly and can be fatal. People may have shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, tiredness, or swelling in the ankles initially. People diagnosed with this disorder will need a heart transplant.
Until getting a transplant, immunosuppressant medications can help control the disorder. Within 5 months from the onset of symptoms, this disorder can lead to life-threatening complications. This fatal autoimmune disease is often found in middle-aged people between 20 and 40.
Vasculitis is also a rare fatal autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the blood vessels of the body and causes inflammation. People who have vasculitis experience symptoms based on which type of blood vessels and organs are affected. Some of the common symptoms are loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, generalized aches, and fever.
Vasculitis can occur separately or alongside other autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren’s syndrome. The common prescription medications used in severe cases are steroids and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). In some severe cases, the blood flow can be blocked and lead to organ damage or death.
3. Multiple sclerosis (MS)
In multiple sclerosis, the overactive immune system damages the covering layer of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It can cause muscle weakness, vision problems, and loss of balance. MS commonly affects people aged between 20 and 30, and women are more likely to get affected than men. It is one of the common causes of disability in younger adults.
Although multiple sclerosis itself is not fatal, severe MS can cause complications due to chest or bladder infections and swallowing difficulties. Disease-modifying therapies, corticosteroids, and counseling can help manage symptoms. With advancements in the treatment, many people with this condition can lead productive lives now.
Systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly known as lupus, is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and pain all over the body. People might experience rashes, joint pain, fever, and extreme tiredness that does not go away. Most commonly, it affects women aged between 15 and 45. Treatment is focused on managing the symptoms and preventing organ damage.
Anti-inflammatory medications, hydroxychloroquine, and steroid medications are generally used to treat lupus. Kidney damage, heart problems and infections associated with lupus can cause life-threatening complications. Lupus was once more deadly, but now people can live for more years with current advancement in treatments and by diagnosing the condition early.
5. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis
In this autoimmune disorder, the antibodies produced by the immune system attack the NMDA receptors located in the brain, which plays a critical role in memory. It mainly affects young people, with about forty percent of the cases under eighteen years of age. Also, women are more likely to get this condition than men.
Often the initial symptoms are less severe and quickly progresses to a stage requiring hospitalization. The common symptoms are problems with speech, seizures, problems with cognition, loss of consciousness, changes in the behavior, and abnormal movements in the arms, mouth, and legs. Some people with this disorder also have a tumor, most commonly ovarian teratoma in women.
Plasma exchange, immunoglobulin therapy, steroids, and tumor removal (if present) are the treatment options for Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Most patients make a full recovery in two years from disease onset, while around 6% of the patients die from this disease.
Is Autoimmune Disease Deadly?
Autoimmune diseases themselves are not inherently deadly, but they can significantly impact a person's health and quality of life. These conditions occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues, leading to a range of symptoms and potential complications. The severity and outcome of autoimmune diseases vary widely, with some manageable through medication and lifestyle changes, while others can be more serious and, if left untreated, may lead to life-threatening complications. Early diagnosis and appropriate medical management are crucial in managing autoimmune diseases and reducing the risk of severe outcomes.
Fight Through Some Bad Days To Earn Best Days Of Your Life
Living with fatal autoimmune diseases can be challenging, but advancements in the medical field have greatly increased the survival rate in many conditions. There are certain things that can help you feel better if you are living with autoimmune diseases. Reduce stress in healthy ways to avoid disease flares. Get enough sleep of seven to nine hours each day.
The medications you take may weaken the immune system. Avoid settings that may expose you to pathogens. Learning about your condition can help you plan lifestyle changes that are beneficial.