Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases are where the body's own immune system is fighting other cells in the body that might not be diseased, and this can cause inflammation and pain. It may affect many parts of the body, like nerves, muscles and the digestive system.

Most autoimmune diseases cannot yet be treated directly, but are treated according to symptoms associated with the conditions.

Autoimmune disorders fall into two general categories:

  • those that damage many organs (systemic autoimmune diseases), for example, rheumatoid arthritis
  • those where only a single organ or tissue is directly damaged by the autoimmune process (localised), for example ulcerative colitis