Exhausted even though you got your eight hours of shuteye? Gaining weight even though you’re eating mostly whole foods? Always so freakin’ cold and achy? There comes a time when the increasingly annoying symptoms you once chalked up to being overworked and underslept just don’t make sense any more. You’re doing everything right—so what gives?
You might have an autoimmune disease—a condition in which your immune system attacks your own healthy tissue. It’s not a given, of course, but autoimmune diseases are becoming increasingly common, affecting anywhere from 24 million to 50 million people in the U.S., 80% of whom are women, according to various estimates.
Some autoimmune diseases are more well known, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (a form of hypothyroidism), but there are more than 80 autoimmune diseases in total, which cause a diverse array of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Here, we unpack some of the most common autoimmune diseases, their symptoms, and what testing and treatment look like.