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Health Tip: Understanding Autoimmune Diseases

What they are, and who's more likely to get them

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(HealthDay News) -- Having an autoimmune disease means that the body's germ-fighting immune system mistakenly attacks normal cells.

The Web site says there are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.

While anyone can acquire an autoimmune disease, the site mentions these factors that increase a person's risk:

  • Being a woman of childbearing age.
  • Having a family history of one or more autoimmune diseases.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals and environmental factors.
  • Being of a particular ethnic background or race. Risk varies based on the particular disease.


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