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These definitions are not intended to replace medical advice or explanation from your medical doctors.  Please consult your physician for information regarding your own care.   Definitions were written by members of SHAD and not all diseases listed are autoimmune diseases, but they are diseases that many of our members have.

A-C    D-F    G-I    J-L    M-O   P-R    S-U   V-Z


Ankylosing Spondylitis:  This is am inflammatory disease of the spine, found more commonly in men.  It destroys the bone and cartilage and then leads to fibrous tissue formation.  The end result is the fusion of the spine or peripheral joints.  Ankylosing Spondylitis usually begins at the base of the spine and works its way up.  Women tend to have more of the peripheral joint manifestations and it is harder to diagnose in women.

Autoimmunity:   Autoimmunity is a cause of a disease and is also called etiology. This is a name given to the immune system when it responds contrary. When contrariness is directed to the body  then a disease is caused. There is at least 67 autoimmune diseases known, but the sad part is that more are being discovered. The Medical community began to grow in the middle ages. Due to the level of sophistication, they classified a disease according to body parts (anatomically). When Louis Pasteur made his major discoveries a 100 years ago understanding came to the medical community as to why a disease occurs in the body,  occurs, cause, etc... means etiology. Medical technology now know of some bacteria and some viruses and some parasites that cause a disease and can help the body  to resist many diseases. World War II ear marked a time when antibiotics and such were introduced. And, with that discovery, a way of treating and curing a few diseases.
Autoimmune Hepatitis:  It is an inflammation of the liver due to the autoimmune disease. It usually occurs by itself, but can be present with other autoimmune diseases. Women have 8 times more frequency of occurrence than men. Diagnosis  is made by a combination of clinical findings, including;  medical history, blood studies and liver biopsy. Symptoms  are variable from one person to another. The most common include liver inflammation resulting in jaundice which is manifested as a yellowing of the white of the eyes and skin, upper right abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, joint pain, spider veins, swollen ankles, nausea, fatigue and an enlarged spleen.


Cardiomyopathy:  The heart enlarges and  does not pump the blood properly resulting in a low blood volume ejecting from the heart.  Due to this an abnormal amount of  blood remains in the left side of the heart which usually results in congestive heart failure (CHF).  The heart becomes large and has an abnormal shape with damaged muscle fibers.  Prognosis is usually poor.  There are many causes of cardiomyopathy, connective tissue diseases being one of them.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:  Carpal tunnel syndrome results from nerve entrapment at the wrist, caused by inflammation or fibrosis (scar tissue) of the tendon sheaths.  This often affects a person's ability to perform their job because it results in sensory and motor changes in the hand.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:  (CFIDS)(CFID) A condition where extreme fatigue is the primary symptom.  The disease cause os unknown, but believed to be related to the herpesviruses, enteroviruses or retrovirsues.  Antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus usually result.  It is believed that CFIDS MAY be a result of an improper immune response to one of these viruses.  No cause has been determined at this time.

Chrohn's Disease:  With Chrohn's Disease there is inflammation of any part of the gastrointestional tract.  It includes all layers of the intestional wall and regional lymph nodes.  The cause is unknown but allergies, immunologic disorders, infection, lymphatic disorders or genetic predisposition have been suspected.  Abscesses, ulcerations, fistulas anf stenosis can occur.  Symptoms may mimic appendicitis with lower right abdominal pain, cramping, nausea fecer and diarrhea.  Bleeding may occur.  Treatment is based upon symptoms.

Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction:  (CIP)  This is a condition caused by a dysfunction of the nerves or muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, causing abnormal gastrointestinal motility.  It is a severe, life threatening condition and often affects children.  Because of the dysfunction of the gastro intestinal tract, feedings are often done by "feeding tubes" and IV treatments are often needed.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF):  There are two types of CHF, right and left sided.  It is caused by a dysfunction of the heart resulting in "pump" damage.  Depending upon the type, symptoms may vary from edema (water retention) in the lower extremities to shortness of breath, wheezing, high blood pressure, abdominal distention, nausea and vomiting.  There are various other symptoms depending upon type.  With proper treatment the outlook is good, depending upon the underlying disease that produced the heart failure.