What are the most common autoimmune diseases?
Autoimmune diseases as a group, in other words, where the immune system attacks part of your body, very common as a group. Individually, much rarer, but some are quite common.
So for example, you can have thyroid problems. Overactive, underactive thyroid, that can be an autoimmune problem.
Type one diabetes, starting in childhood, but sometimes in adulthood as well, that’s an autoimmune problem, maybe triggered by a virus.
Rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system attacks the joints in your hand, and in the rest of your body and can also affect other organs, which tends to come on a bit more, which tends to come on later in life, maybe in your 40s, 50s and 60s.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune problem of the brain where the, if you like, the electrical cable, the insulation on your nerves is attacked by the immune system and causes neurological problems. Those would be amongst the commonest.
In some ethnic groups, systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE, or lupus, is quite common, particularly if you’re from Southeast Asia.
And then there are rarer ones like scleroderma, which can be pretty nasty. Those would be the commonest autoimmune diseases. There are others, but they are much rarer.
Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist
Last Reviewed: 16/09/2020
Sjögren’s syndrome - also known as Sjogren syndrome - is a chronic (ongoing) disease that typically results in symptoms of dry eyes and dry mouth. It is caused by problems with the immune system.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus, (SLE or simply lupus) is an auto-immune disease that causes pain and inflammation in the skin, joints and other parts of the body.
Joint pain - top 10 causes
What’s causing your joint pain? Find out the most common causes of joint pain.
Glomerulonephritis is a disease that involves inflammation of the filtering units of the kidneys, known as glomeruli.
There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.