THIS CONTENT IS IN PROGRESS. In the mean time, here is some copy/paste from the interwebs. Featured imaged URL linked from nailmag.com (looks oddly similar to my title image, but not related).
Autoimmune disease affects up to 50 million Americans, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function.
There are as many as 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Many of them have similar symptoms, which makes them very difficult to diagnose. It’s also possible to have more than one at the same time. Autoimmune diseases usually fluctuate between periods of remission (little or no symptoms) and flare-ups (worsening symptoms). Currently, treatment for autoimmune diseases focuses on relieving symptoms because there is no curative therapy.
Autoimmune diseases often run in families, and 75 percent of those affected are women, according to AARDA. African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans also have an increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease.