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5 Most Common Autoimmune Diseases in Women

About 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, and a majority of those people are women. In fact, women are twice as likely to have an autoimmune disorder as men. Here are the top five autoimmune diseases in women.

1. Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that attacks healthy tissues and organs in the body, including skin, kidneys, joints, and the brain. Approximately 90% of people with the condition are women. There are several factors that contribute to Lupus, including estrogen, such as those used in some oral contraceptives.

Symptoms include:

  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Rashes
  • Chronic fever
  • Sun sensitivity

2. Multiple Sclerosis

MS is a condition where your immune system attacks your brain’s myelin sheath, affecting how your neural system transmits information. Women are twice as likely to develop MS.

Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Vision loss
  • Aches, numbness, and tingling
  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Muscle weakness
  • Memory problems
  • Speaking and swallowing difficulties

3. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the immune system attacks joint tissue, causing aches, swelling, deformation, and reduced mobility. It most often affects menopausal women.

Symptoms include:

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

4. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is caused by a rapid buildup of skin cells, causing scaly, itchy patches to appear on the skin. This condition often starts with puberty and can flare with your menstrual cycle.

Symptoms include:

  • Red, thick skin patches
  • Bleeding or itching skin
  • Burning and soreness
  • Thick, ridged nails
  • Joint pain and swelling

5. Thyroid Conditions

Women can be affected by several thyroid conditions, including Graves’ disease, or when the body makes too many thyroid hormones, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is caused by low hormone production. Women are 10 times more likely to develop these conditions.

Graves’ symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Heat sensitivity and sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Fast heartrate
  • Brittle hair
  • Light menstrual periods

Hashimoto’s symptoms:

  • Stiff joints
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Cold sensitivity
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