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Autoimmune Disease Symptom Checklist: Top Warning Signs

Have you been living with chronic symptoms such as extreme fatigue, achy muscles, brain fog, or digestive issues? You may be struggling with an autoimmune disease and not even know it. Autoimmune conditions are caused by rogue immune cells in your body that attack healthy cells.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disorders that range in severity from mild to disabling, depending on which system of your body is being attacked. While each autoimmune disease has a unique set of symptoms, there are some common threads. Here’s a helpful checklist of the top warning signs you may have an autoimmune disease.

Do you think you might have an autoimmune disease? Schedule a free discovery call today.

Autoimmune Disease Symptom Checklist

Autoimmune diseases vary greatly, but there are several overlapping symptoms. Below is a checklist of common symptoms that can be present in autoimmune diseases.

  • Chronic Fatigue: Fatigue that can’t be cured with sleep is one of the biggest indicators of an autoimmune disease.
  • Chronic Pain: Pain that persists for more than 12 weeks is one of the most common signs of an autoimmune disease.
  • Digestive Disorders: Abdominal pain, bloating, tenderness, heartburn, cramps, constipation, and diarrhea all point to a condition known as leaky gut syndrome, which is common with many autoimmune diseases.
  • Weight Changes: Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight (15-30 pounds) in the past year is often a sign of numerous autoimmune diseases.
  • Hormone Fluctuations: The collection of glands that produce hormones is known as the endocrine system, and it can be a prime target of autoimmune diseases.
  • Joint Swelling and Pain: Whether it’s a general pain, burning, aching, or soreness, this symptom can also be found in almost every autoimmune disease.
  • Dry or Irritated Skin: Several autoimmune conditions cause dry skin, itchiness, or rashes.
  • Sore and Swollen Glands: Sore or swollen glands can happen anywhere in your body, but typically you’ll notice this symptom in your throat, under your arms, or near your groin area.
  • Anxiety and Depression: Mood swings and emotional changes, panic attacks, and excessive irritability are common symptoms in most autoimmune conditions.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation is connected to every autoimmune disorder.
  • Brain Fog: Feeling mentally slow and fuzzy and experiencing memory problems are common autoimmune disease symptoms in most conditions.
  • Difficulty Sleeping: Difficulty falling asleep or frequently waking up in the middle of the night is experienced by almost everyone with an autoimmune disorder.
  • Recurring Fevers: Frequent, low-grade fevers are one of the first signs of an autoimmune disorder.
  • Low Blood Sugar: Low blood sugar is a sign of adrenal fatigue and is common in many autoimmune disorders.
  • Allergies: Many people with autoimmune disorders are allergic to or have sensitivities to numerous foods or the environment.
  • Hair Loss: One of the most common culprits of hair loss, especially before the age of 50, is an autoimmune disease.

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Common Autoimmune Diseases and Their Symptoms

Now that we’ve looked at the most common symptoms of an autoimmune disease, let’s talk about the most common autoimmune diseases and the symptoms you should look out for in each condition.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that disturbs the lining of your joints. This disease causes painful swelling, joint stiffness, bone erosion, and joint deformity, typically in the hands and feet.

Some common signs of rheumatoid arthritis include:

Type I Diabetes

Type I diabetes is different than Type II diabetes because it’s an autoimmune disease that mistakenly attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas, which helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of Type I diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst and hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Weight loss
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Slow healing of cuts and bruises
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dry mouth

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to become extra sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.

Symptoms associated with celiac disease are:

  • Stomach pain, particularly after eating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes
  • Chronic headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Loss of bone density
  • Iron deficiency
  • Acid reflux or heartburn
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers or toes
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Depression

Multiple Sclerosis

This autoimmune disease affects your nervous system. Multiple Sclerosis damages the protective coating around nerve cells and disrupts the communication between the body and the brain.

Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:

  • Tingling or numbness
  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle aches and stiffness
  • Brain fog
  • Chronic pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech problems

Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease attacks and destroys your thyroid gland, causing it to pump out too little thyroid hormone.

Symptoms that are typically associated with Hashimoto’s are:

  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Puffy face
  • Constipation
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Skin problems
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle aches and stiffness
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

Grave’s Disease

Graves’s disease also attacks and destroys your thyroid gland, but opposite of Hashimoto’s, it causes the thyroid to pump out too much thyroid hormone.

Signs of Grave’s include:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating and feeling overheated
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Bulging eyes
  • Thick, red skin on the top of the feet or shins
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Difficulty sleeping

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory autoimmune bowel disease that inflames the lining or wall of your gastrointestinal tract.

Common symptoms of Crohn’s are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Rectal bleeding and pain
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea or vomiting

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

This rare autoimmune disorder causes your immune system to damage your nerve cells, which leads to muscle weakness.

Symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome often start in the hands and feet before spreading to your arms and legs. Symptoms include:

  • Tingling and numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coordination problems and difficulty walking
  • Blurry vision
  • Speech problems
  • Temporary paralysis
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty with bladder control
  • Fluctuations in heart rate

Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system attacks the skin, joints, and even certain organs like the heart, brain, and lungs.

Symptoms of lupus include:

  • A malar (butterfly-like) facial rash
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Frequent headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Skin rashes

Vasculitis

Vasculitis is a rare autoimmune disorder in which the lining of your blood vessels becomes inflamed.

Symptoms of vasculitis to look out for are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Skin problems
  • Fever
  • Frequent headaches
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Tingling or numbness

Colitis

Colitis causes inflammation of the lining of the colon.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Dehydration
  • Rectal bleeding and pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Alopecia

Alopecia is a dermatological autoimmune disease that causes loss of hair around the scalp, face, and other parts of the body.

  • Hair thinning
  • Sudden hair loss
  • White spots or indentations on nails

Do these symptoms sound familiar? Schedule a discovery call today to learn how we can help.

Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout East Tennessee and into Virginia and North Carolina. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, and Abingdon, VA.