With more than 100 autoimmune diseases known to medical professionals, it’s not surprising that some conditions are better-known than others. Diagnoses like celiac disease, Lyme disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Type 1 diabetes, to name a few, are some of the most well-known autoimmune diseases.
But, when it comes to these conditions and those that are less recognized, few people are confident in differentiating their medical symptoms. In addition to a dependable health symptom checker that can offer medical advice in a non-emergency situation, knowing some of the most common symptoms of autoimmune diseases can help you ask the right questions of your primary care provider to get the diagnosis and medical care you need.
Fatigue is more than just feeling tired. Someone who’s feeling fatigued will find themselves faced with an overall lack of energy and motivation. Often, fatigue can be caused by lifestyle choices, like a poor diet or physical exertion. Sleep deprivation, stress, and even boredom can create or exacerbate symptoms of fatigue. When it isn’t linked to a lifestyle or outside factor, though, fatigue is often caused by a deficiency or medical condition, including autoimmune diseases like myasthenia gravis, fibromyalgia, and Addison’s disease.
In acute, mild cases, abdominal pain is common. You’ve probably experienced gas pains, pulled muscles, or simple indigestion that led to plenty of discomfort in your abdomen. But, in more severe cases, a patient’s abdominal pain can be chronic or progressive. This can be due to conditions like gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, or ovarian cysts. But autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), or endometriosis can also feature abdominal pain and distress. Talk to your doctor and take note of features like the location and severity of the pain to make sure you get the most accurate diagnosis.
Swollen glands are another symptom you’re probably familiar with. When your body is fighting off an infection, like the flu, the common cold, or an ear infection, your lymph nodes or lymph glands might swell. Located in your neck, groin, armpits, and under your chin, swollen lymph nodes might appear alongside other symptoms, like a sore throat, runny nose, or fever. But, in some cases, your swollen glands can indicate an autoimmune disease like Castleman disease (CD), sarcoidosis, or Chagas disease. It could be that you’ve come down with a case of strep throat‚Äîor you could be facing an autoimmune condition.
From a minor source of irritation to a more serious, debilitating symptom, joint pain is a symptom of many conditions and a side effect of many injuries. Pain in your knees, shoulders, hips, ankles, or other joints is a common ailment, especially for older adults. When it isn’t related to an injury or aging, though, your chronic moderate to severe joint pain could be a symptom of autoimmune conditions like Lyme disease, psoriatic arthritis, or adult-onset Still’s a disease. If you can’t identify a cause for your joint pain or it isn’t responding to common remedies like NSAID pain relievers, rest, or ice, reach out to your doctor to see if more formal medical care might be necessary.
Just as it’s important to recognize signs of a medical emergency, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic, knowing the common symptoms of autoimmune diseases can help you take control of your health and get faster access to professional medical advice and treatment you need. Spend some time with a reputable symptom checker to get an idea of what your fatigue, joint or abdominal pain, or swollen glands, and sore throat might indicate. Then, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or another medical care provider for the treatment and professional medical advice you need to diagnosis your autoimmune disease or other condition, ease your symptoms, and start feeling better in your body.