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The immune system is the body's defense against foreign substances,
such as bacteria or viruses, that may be harmful. An autoimmune disease is an
abnormal condition that occurs when a person's immune system attacks its own
tissues as though they were foreign substances.
Why the body attacks its own cells is not known. Autoimmune
diseases include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and Sjögren's
syndrome. Certain types of diabetes and thyroid disease are related to
autoimmune reactions. People who have autoimmune diseases are at an increased
risk for infections.
Current as of:
February 24, 2016
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
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