What doctor to see for an autoimmune condition

specialists for an autoimmune condition
Doctors have great knowledge in their area of specialisation.
There are many kinds of specialists in medicine and knowing what each does can be helpful to people seeking a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease or having an autoimmune disease. Specialists are helpful in managing autoimmune disease symptoms. You may need to see a variety of different specialists to help manage your symptoms and slow the progression of your disease. Your family doctor will write a referral to the specialists you need and will help you manage your care.

This list of specialists is arranged alphabetically.
It is not a full list.

Allergist and Immunologist
Treat disorders of the immune system such as asthma, eczema, nasal allergies, food allergies, and immunodeficiency diseases.

Study the heart and treat disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

Cardiovascular Specialist
 Diagnose and treat diseases of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels and manage cardiac conditions such as heart attacks.

Diagnose and treat disorders of the skin, mouth, external genitalia, hair, and nails, such as skin cancers, moles, allergic disorders, and scarring.

Diagnose and treat disorders of the endocrine system such as thyroid and adrenal gland problems and disorders such as diabetes, pituitary diseases, and menstrual and sexual problems.

GastroenterologistDiagnose and treat problems of the stomach, pancreas, intestines, liver, and gallbladder, such as abdominal pain, ulcers, cancer, and jaundice.

Diagnose and treat disorders of the kidneys, high blood pressure, and fluid and mineral imbalances. 

Diagnose and surgically treat problems of the nervous system (including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves) and the blood vessels and structures that support that system.

Pain Management Specialist
Treat people experiencing acute and chronic pain.

RheumatologistDiagnose and treat diseases of joints, muscles, bones, and tendons such as arthritis, back pain, and common athletic injuries. .

A full list of specialties and subspecialties that physicians enter, and descriptions of what the specialists do can be found at The Harvard Medical School. 


Mediterranean breakfasts

Mediterranean diet
Mediterranean Diet Guide from Google play
The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating including olive oil and a glass of red wine. The diet includes all fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limits certain fats such as butter.
Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
But what do you actually eat on the Mediterranean diet?
Today we will focus on breakfasts.

Unsweetened yoghurt with fruit and nuts.
tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic
Lightly sauté vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil.

Egg dishes made with oil instead of butter and no or minimum milk.
Mediterranean breakfasts
Whole grain bread with avocado, tomato and herbs or with fruit and honey.
Mediterranean breakfasts
Whole grain cereal like spiced apple cereal (above)


Toni Braxton is a fighter of Lupus

Singer Toni Braxton has Lupus which is also called SLE or systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus causes the immune system to attack blood cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage that can affect the heart, lungs, skin, joints, kidneys and brain.

"I decided to come forward because I got tired of pretending. I got tired of hiding it. It was challenging masking it all the time, pretending that I feel great and I was actually feeling horrible."

On November 18, 2010, Braxton told CBS News that she had been diagnosed with Lupus a potentially life threatening autoimmune disease. Braxton's brother is a carrier of the disease, and her uncle died of complications from lupus. In December 2012 Toni was in hospital due to health issues related to lupus.



What is Vasculitis?

public domain image of arteries in brain

The brain and arteries at base of the brain
Grays Anatomy

Vasculitis is an inflammation of blood vessels, which includes the veins, arteries, and capillaries.  Researchers think that inflammation occurs with infection or is thought to be due to a faulty immune system response.  Vasculitic disorders can cause problems in any organ system, including the central (CNS) and peripheral (PNS) nervous systems.   Vasculitis disorders, or syndromes, of the CNS and PNS are characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in and around blood vessels, and secondary narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels that nourish the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves.
A vasculitic syndrome may begin suddenly or develop over time.  Symptoms include: headaches, especially a headache that doesn’t go away; fever; feeling out-of-sorts; rapid weight loss; confusion or forgetfulness leading to dementia; aches and pains in the joints and muscles; pain while chewing or swallowing; paralysis or numbness, usually in the arms or legs; and visual disturbances, such as double vision, blurred vision, or blindness.
Although these disorders are rare, there are many of them.  Some of the better understood syndromes are: 
  • Temporal arteritis (also called giant cell arteritis or cranial arteritis)
  • Primary angiitis of the CNS (granulomatous angiitis)
  • Takayasu’s disease,
  • Periarteritis nodosa
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Wegener’s granulomatosis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosis                                   
  • Scleroderma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Behcet’s disease

Is there any treatment?

Treatment for a vasculitis syndrome depends upon the specific diagnosis.  Most of the syndromes respond well to steroid drugs, such as prednisone.  Some may also require treatment with an immunosuppressive drug, such as cyclophosphamide.

What is the prognosis?

The prognosis is dependent upon the specific syndrome, however, most of the syndromes are fatal if left untreated.

What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct research relating to vasculitis syndromes in laboratories at the NIH and also support vasculitis research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  The NINDS supports The Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC), a network of academic medical centers, patient support organizations, and clinical research resources dedicated to conducting clinical research and improving the care of individuals with vasculitis.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Vasculitis Syndromes of the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems Clinical Trials


American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
22100 Gratiot Avenue
Eastpointe, MI   48021-2227
http://www.aarda.org External link
Tel: 586-776-3900 800-598-4668
Fax: 586-776-3903
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT   06810
http://www.rarediseases.org External link
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 6A32 MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD   20892-2510
Tel: 301-496-5248
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612
Bethesda, MD   20892-6612
Tel: 301-496-5717

Related NINDS Publications and Information
  • Vasculitis Fact Sheet brochure ( pdf file, 426 kb)
    Prepared by:
    Office of Communications and Public Liaison
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    National Institutes of Health
    Bethesda, MD 20892     

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied.   

You may find find some support groups here for these conditions.                


September is pain month

The Wounded man
Thousands of years ago, ancient peoples attributed pain to spirits and treated it with mysticism and incantations. Over the centuries, science has provided us with a remarkable ability to understand and control pain with medications, surgery, and other treatments. Today, scientists understand a great deal about the causes and mechanisms of pain, and research has produced dramatic improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of a number of painful disorders. For people who fight every day against the limitations imposed by pain, research offers a powerful weapon in the battle to prolong and improve the lives of people with pain: hope.
Read more about the future of pain research.


Foods to support the immune system: part 1

Although you know your own body better than anyone else, as far as what you can eat, research has shown that certain foods help to alleviate the symptoms of autoimmune disease.

Olive Oil

olive oil for immune system

The immune system is strengthened by Olive Oil helping it to protect against viruses. It has also been found to be effective in fighting against diseases such as Prostrate Cancer, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, Blood Pressure and Diabetes.
Many people find that using extra virgin olive oil as the primary cooking ingredient in a diet will help to alleviate the symptoms of autoimmune disease. Olive oil requires less effort by the body to process than processed fats such as margarine and is one of the important parts of the Mediterranean Diet.

Olive Oil

Mediterranean Diet
Autoimmune Diseases
Other ways to help the immune system


Autoimmune Disease: Stop Your Body’s Self-Attack by Dr Mark Hyman

The fact that the incidence of autoimmune disease has tripled in the last few decades is concerning.

You’re probably familiar with the most common autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type-1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, and psoriasis. But there are many more autoimmune diseases that affect the nervous system, joints and muscles, skin, endocrine gland, and heart.

Dr Mark Hyman believes that environmental toxins are a major cause of autoimmune disease and outlines a 9 point program for addressing it which includes the following:
  • Get tested for celiac disease (an autoimmune reaction to wheat and other gluten-containing grains), which causes over 60 autoimmune diseases. And consider eliminating other inflammatory foods from your diet such as dairy, eggs, corn and animal fats for a few weeks to see if it makes a different your symptoms.
  • Take immune-balancing nutrients and supplements, including vitamin D, essential fats (like EPA/DHA and GLA), and probiotics.
  • Learn how to boost your body’s own detoxification system.

  • Read the full article.


    Nick Cannon is a fighter of autoimmune lupus nephritis

    While it is sad that anyone has illness or an autoimmune disorder we are pleased when celebrities let the world know they have an illness, as it helps get that illness better known.

    Early in 2012 Nick Cannon announced that he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called lupus nephritis, which was the cause of his kidney problems and blood clots in his lungs.
    Cannon stepped down from his radio show with a statement on the .92.3 NOW website:

    Under doctor's orders, I have been asked to put my health first and cut back on some of my professional commitments in order to allow my body to get the rest that it needs to keep up with the demands of my multi-tasking schedule.

    Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematosus, called SLE or Lupus, a disease of the immune system. Apart from the kidneys, SLE can also damage the skinjointsnervous system and virtually any organ or system in the body. Find out more about lupus in simple to understand language.

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