In my previous post I talked about autoimmune disorders that affect the hair and skin. Many of the autoimmune disorders affect multiple organs and the musculoskeletal system.
The musculoskeletal system provides form, support, stability, and movement to the body. It is made up of the bones of the skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue that supports and binds tissues and organs together.
Some of these autoimmune disorders are new to me and I want to learn more about them.
AI disorders affecting multiple organs including the musculoskeletal system
- Lupus affects connective tissue and can strike any organ system of the body. Symptoms include joint inflammation, fever, weight loss and a characteristic facial rash.
- Scleroderma affects the skin and other structures, causing the formation of scar tissue. Features include thickening of the skin, skin ulcers and stiff joints. Swelling of the fingers, intermittent coolness and blue discoloration of the fingers, joints freezing in permanent (usually flexed) positions (contractures), and damage to the gastrointestinal system, lungs, heart, or kidneys may develop.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. Affects the joints. Symptoms include swollen and deformed joints. The eyes, lungs and heart may also be targeted.
- Polymyositis is one of the inflammatory myopathies, a group of muscle diseases that involves inflammation of the muscles or associated tissues, such as the blood vessels that supply the muscles. Polymyositis usually does not affect most internal organs other than the throat and esophagus. However, the lungs and heart may be affected, causing abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), shortness of breath, and a cough.
- Dermatomyositis Muscle weakness at the shoulders or hips.
- Sjogren’s Syndrome white blood cells can infiltrate and damage glands that secrete fluids, and sometimes other organs can be damaged. Sjögren’s syndrome can dry out the mucous membranes lining the nose, throat, digestive tract, voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea), airways of the lungs, vulva, and vagina. Dryness of the vulva and vagina can make sexual intercourse painful. Dryness of the trachea can cause cough. Nerve, lung, and other tissues may be damaged by the inflammation.
- Relapsing Polychondritis is a rare disorder characterized by episodes of painful, destructive inflammation of the cartilage and other connective tissues in many organs. The ears or nose may become inflamed and tender. Other cartilage in the body can be damaged, leading to various symptoms, such as red or painful eyes, hoarseness, cough, difficulty breathing, rashes, and pain around the breastbone.
- Eosinophilic Fasciitis is a rare disorder in which the skin and tissue that lies beneath the skin become painfully inflamed and swollen and gradually harden in the arms and legs.
Populations Affected by AI Disorders affecting multiple organs including the musculoskeletal system
Lupus According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. have lupus. People of African, Asian, and Native American descent are more likely to develop lupus than are Caucasians. Although it can occur in both men and women, 90% of people diagnosed with the disease are women.
Sjogren’s Syndrome More than 200,000 US cases per year of sjogren’s syndrome. Sjögren’s syndrome can affect people of either sex and of any age, but most cases occur in women. The average age for onset is late forties, but in rare cases, Sjögren’s syndrome is diagnosed in children.
Rheumatoid arthritis About 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Nearly three times as many women have the disease as men. In women, RA most commonly begins between ages 30 and 60. In men, it often occurs later in life.
Scleroderma The systemic form of scleroderma is thought to affect from 40,000 to 165,000 people in the United States. The disease is three to four times more common in females than in males. Scleroderma may occur at any age but the symptoms most frequently begin during midlife.
Dermatomyositis occurs in adults from the late 40s to early 60s, but can also occur in children. Females are most affected. Fewer than 200,000 US cases per year
Polymyositis (PM) is rare. Incidence is estimated to be somewhere between 1-8 cases per million people. Women are twice more likely to be affected than men. PM typically occurs during middle age and is rarely seen in people younger than 30 years.
Relapsing polychondritis occurs as often in men as in women. In a Mayo Clinic series, the annual incidence was about 3.5 cases per million.