14 of the Most Common Autoimmune Diseases You Simply Must Know

Whether you realize it or not, your immune system does some seriously heavy lifting. It has the vital job of protecting you from disease, fighting pathogens, and making sure you wake up the next morning feeling just as good as the day before. Sure, you’ve been sidelined by the flu before, but without your immune system, it’d be tough to survive at all.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s immune system does the job it’s meant to. Those with autoimmune disorders have overactive systems that end up mistaking the body’s healthy tissue for an invading sickness. WebMD explains the body basically attacks itself, causing a wealth of issues. And believe it or not, autoimmune diseases are quite common. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association says one in five people in the U.S. has one of these disorders. Here are the 14 most common ones you should really be aware of.

1. Graves’ disease

Human Thyroid Gland Illustration

This disease affects your thyroid gland. | iStock.com/Nerthuz

Your thyroid is responsible for keeping your metabolism humming along. For those with Graves’ disease, the immune system releases antibodies that stimulate the thyroid, shifting it right into high gear. This can cause weight loss, tremors, and sweating, explains WebMD. These are all signs the gland is working way too hard.

You might think the weight loss part of this disease doesn’t sound too bad, but the eye complications that can occur are really troubling. Some people with Graves’ experience a condition that causes their eyes to protrude out of the sockets. Luckily it’s not all negative — there are anti-thyroid agents available for people with the disease.