Close to 100 diseases can be classified as autoimmune-related. And while each has specific symptoms associated with it, there are some “super symptoms” that are common to a great number of autoimmune diseases.
Super Symptoms List
- Inflammation: This is at the root of autoimmune disease. Your body attacks itself and then responds with inflammation and swelling, which is often accompanied by heat and pain.
- Persistent, low-grade fever: People who have an autoimmune disease often have a fever that lasts several days or more.
- Extreme fatigue: Fatigue is among the most common symptoms of autoimmune disease.
- Swollen glands: Swollen glands (also known as lymph nodes) in the neck, groin, arm pits, under the jaw and behind the ears are a symptom of autoimmune disease.
- Itchy skin or skin rashes: Irritated skin can be a symptom of several illnesses, including celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis and lupus.
- Tingling: Diabetes patients often complain of a pins-and-needles sensation in the feet, or a loss of feeling altogether. Tingling in the legs, which sometimes spread to the upper body, could be a symptom of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. A symptom of multiple sclerosis is tingling in the arms, hands, legs and feet.
- Changes In weight: Celiac disease can induce weight loss or weight gain. Symptoms for Graves ’ disease include weight loss. Generally, be on the lookout for a weight loss or gain of 10 to 15 pounds.
- Joint/muscle pain/weakness: Pain in joints and muscles is associated with a number of autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis and rheumatic disease.
- Infections: Autoimmune is often characterized by susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections, and slower recovery from those infections.
- Shortness of breath/palpitations: Autoimmunity can often contribute to feeling out of breath, or a heaviness in the chest. Some patients feel irregular heartbeats.
- Brain fog: Difficulty thinking, concentrating or remembering things is a common symptom that appears in many autoimmune disease conditions.
- Hair loss: People with thyroid disorders often experience hair loss, as do those with lupus. And, of course, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes profound hair loss.
References and Further Reading
About.com: Thyroid Disease
New York Times Health Guide: Autoimmune Disorders
Patient.co.uk: Autoimmune Hepatitis
Huffington Post: How to Stop Attacking Yourself: 9 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease
ThirdAge.com: Autoimmune Disease: Ten Symptoms
SheKnows: Tips to Clear Your Head
AutoimmuneHealth: Autoimmune Disease Symptoms
About the Author
Gretchen Heber is an autoimmune mom and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in online media. She has also worked with several daily newspapers across the United States, serving as a graphic designer, writer and editor.