With an autoimmune disorder, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissues within the body. This occurs because the body cannot distinguish between healthy tissues and antigens, which potentially harmful substances contain.
The immune system works by producing antibodies that find these antigens and signal to the rest of the immune system to destroy them. However, with an autoimmune disorder, the immune system mistakenly identifies healthy tissue as harmful and then attacks it.
This immune system reaction can result in organ function changes, destruction of body tissue, or the abnormal growth of an organ.
Some areas that are often affected by autoimmune disorders include:
- connective tissues
- blood vessels
- red blood cells
- endocrine glands