5 Serious Complications That Can Arise Because of an Autoimmune Disease

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by Wendy Henderson |

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Having an autoimmune disease means that a person’s immune system is attacking their body instead of protecting it. Aside from the autoimmune disease they may have, they’re also at a higher risk of developing other serious health complications. According to prevention.com, here are five serious complications that can arise if you have an autoimmune disease.

Heart Disease

Many of the autoimmune diseases which cause inflammation like lupus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to hardening of the arteries and can attack the heart muscle and lead to heart disease.

To help minimize the risk of heart disease, autoimmune patients should ensure they eat a heart-healthy diet and try to exercise as much as possible. They will also need to regularly monitor their blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Pulmonary Embolism 

Studies have found that people who have an autoimmune disease are six times more likely to develop a blood clot in the lungs following hospitalization. Multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disease patients who are in a wheelchair or fairly sedentary are at risk of developing blood clots in the legs which can then travel up to the lungs. Compression socks or blood thinning medications may be advised by your doctor.

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The chronic pain and fatigue associated with autoimmune diseases can often lead to patients developing depression. It’s important that you speak to your doctor if you begin to experience anxiety or depression so that you can be treated as soon as possible and improve your quality of life.


Because patients with autoimmune diseases have a compromised immune system, they are at risk of developing certain cancers including lymphoma and breast cancer. It’s thought that inflammation in the body can trigger cells to multiply, which increases the risk of cell mutation.

Other Autoimmune Diseases

Sadly, if you already have an autoimmune disease there is an increased risk of developing one or even more autoimmune diseases. There are over 80 autoimmune diseases and those who suffer from three or more are said to have multiple autoimmune syndrome.

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