Autoimmune disorders are common in women (but may also affect some men), particularly when they are at an age for child bearing. About 75% of people suffering from autoimmune disorders are women. There are autoimmune disorders that are regarded as major causes of death and of disability in women aged 65 years and below. Autoimmune diseases are of different types. When the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs, that is when autoimmune happens.
It is not yet known why women are more prone to these disorders, but there are some possible reasons that are believed to be causing the onset of diseases. Gender hormone is one of the probable theories. Hormonal fluctuations such as during pregnancy and menstruation are also times when autoimmune problems seem to flare and improve. Gender difference when it concerns immunity is also another believed to be theories why women suffer more from this family of diseases. Women are believed to have an immunity system that is more sophisticated than men’s. Pregnancy history and genetic susceptibility are also other possible causes of autoimmunity in women. Below are some of the common diseases that are more commonly occurring in women.
• Grave’s disease. The autoimmune system makes the thyroid gland to become overactive. Women are more affected than men by seven times.
• Hashimoto thyroiditis. If there is one man affected by this disease involving the thyroid gland, 10 women are said to also suffer from it.
• Myasthenia gravis. It is a skeletal muscle autoimmune disorder that affects two women while only one man is affected by it.
• Multiple sclerosis. This disease involves the myelin sheath; and women are twice as possible to be affected as men. Corticosteroids are usually administered to patients with mild cases of multiple sclerosis.
• Rheumatoid arthritis. Five women may develop this condition of the joint tissue, but only two men may suffer from it.
• Lupus or Systemic lupus erythematosus. The joints and the organs in the entire body may be affected by this condition and women are nine times more likely to be affected than men.
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is one of the major causes of infertility in women where the androgen hormone levels are too high. Irregular or no periods at all is one of the symptoms. Other symptoms are extra hair on the face, limbs, back and chest; acne, substantial and rapid weight gain. When consulting with your doctor, it will be helpful to mention all these important signs indicative of the syndrome. No cure for PCOS is available yet, but the hormonal production may be controlled and regulated by taking contraceptive pills and/or Metfornin.
• Fibromyalgia. Pain, exhaustion and numbness are symptoms associated with this condition that usually starts to occur during early-middle childhood. There is still no exact cure for the condition, but OTC drugs and pain relievers may be taken to quell the soreness.
• Chronic fatigue. The actual cause of extreme fatigue is not yet known, but is speculated to be in relation with hormonal imbalance, stress and dormant viruses in the body.