Your immune system serves the amazing function of protecting your body against invasion by bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances. When your body detects a foreign substance such as a pathogen, allergen, or object, it mounts an immune response to seal off the intruder from your body and fight to kill off or eject it. Unfortunately, in some cases, your immune system may go haywire, triggering an immune reaction that fights against your own healthy cells and tissues. There are a variety of these autoimmune disorders that can wreak havoc on a person’s health.
Alopecia is a disorder in which your immune system attacks your own hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are different forms of alopecia. Alopecia areata refers to a condition in which hair falls out in patches. When a person loses all of the hair on his or her scalp, the disease is called alopecia totalis. Meanwhile, alopecia universalis is a complete loss of all body hair. After the hair falls out, it may or may not grow back again.
12. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which eating gluten triggers a person’s immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine. Damage to the lining of the small intestine can result in a decreased ability to absorb nutrients from food. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, a person with this condition is twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease and four times as likely to develop cancer of the bowel. Treatment for celiac disease involves maintaining a strict, gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein contained in wheat and wheat products.