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Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases develop when healthy cells get destroyed by the body’s own immune system.

The immune system protects our body against harmful substances by producing antibodies. For some people, their immune system cannot distinguish between healthy and harmful tissue and so it attacks and destroys these cells. This reaction can trigger an autoimmune disease.

There are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lupus. 4 million people in the UK are living with at least one – and although women tend to have a slightly stronger immune system, they are more likely to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

While there are no cures for autoimmune diseases, a GP can advise on possible treatments.

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that causes extreme tiredness, joint pain, and skin rashes.
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Guillain-Barre syndrome
Guillain-Barré syndrome is a condition where your immune system attacks your nerves, causing numbness and weakness in your feet and hands.
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Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a severe, lifelong condition that causes your blood glucose (sugar) levels to become too high.
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Myositis is a rare autoimmune disease that causes weak muscles
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