Unfortunately, at the beginning of the semester, I had decided to interview a few professionals within the immunology field for my research, but due to unseen circumstances that won’t be happening! Instead, I will be answering some of the questions that I had prepared for the interview through online research!
Who treats autoimmune diseases and what field is it?
Due to the 80+ varieties of Autoimmune diseases and the multiple ways they can affect patients there arent just doctors who specialize in all autoimmune diseases, therefore most patients are obligated to meet multiple doctors at once. Some common fields which deal with autoimmune disorders include (1) …
The field of rheumatology deals with diseases and disorders which affect the muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. How is this related to Autoimmune diseases? Well, when you are getting treated for things that relate to autoimmunity your “treating” doctor is someone in the field in which your disorder is affecting most within your body. One of the most common of which is arthritis, because the vast majority of those who have autoimmune diseases are being affected in the bones, muscles, and joints, most see a rheumatology specialist (2). Rheumatologists are also in charge of dealing with systemic autoimmune diseases most of the time.
Endocrinology is the study of hormones and hormone regulation. Our hormones help us live comfortably by regulating our emotions, temperature, growth, stress, and overall mood. How does this relate to autoimmunity, well one of the other most common autoimmune diseases is diabetes! As diabetes does tend to disrupt the hormone system because of its lack of support for the insulin hormone, many autoimmune patients are referred to endocrinologists (3).
Gastroenterology is the field which specializes in the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver(4)(5). Another common autoimmune disease is chronic inflammatory bowel disease/syndrome which affects almost 3.1 million people in the United States alone! (6). Therefore most patients who struggle with symptoms concerning the gastroenterology functions are referred to professionals in this field.
Dermatology stems from the name “derma” which means skin, meaning that the dermatology field deals with function of the skin, fat, hair, nails, and oral, and genital membranes of the body(7). The skin represents about 16% of a human’s body weight and is one of the only bodily functions which is taking the brunt force of any external factors. (8) Moreover, because of the wide span which the field of dermatology covers, most of the rare and undocumented autoimmune diseases will be categorized under dermatological diseases if the symptoms are externally shown. (9)
From the name you can see that immunology is the study of the immune system, which is the body’s defence system, helping keep bad bacteria and diseases away from the body or help you feel better when fighting bad bacteria and diseases.
Most immunologists work in research or academic fields as immunology is a very specialized and growing field of study. However, if you were to go to a doctor you would go to a clinical immunologist, whom most go to in order to recognize any allergies a patient could have or if you are trying to diagnose an autoimmune disorder(10).
What is it like for children with autoimmune diseases?
Many adolescents (6-19) dealing with autoimmune diseases have trouble upkeeping their quality of life due to medication needed to control the said disorder/disease. It is important to know that on most occasions the medications that are used include steroids, cancer medication, and immune-suppressing injectables. Because of this, many adolescents find it hard to function “normally” and feel alone due to the lack of change with the medication and the multitude of side effects that come with it. Another important fact is that there is no cure for any autoimmune disease, only maintenance. Therefore, any scar, deformation, or loss of limb, cannot be fixed and will always be there. Ultimately making it hard to go through with medication when no “change” is made(11).
Thank you so much for following my research, Happy Learning!!
- Knox, J. (2021, December 23). What type of doctor treats autoimmune diseases? Verywell Health. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/autoimmune-doctor-5112446
- Don, T. (2019, March 27). What is a rheumatologist? what they treat and when you need to see one. CreakyJoints. Retrieved June 1, 2022, from https://creakyjoints.org/doctor-patient/what-is-a-rheumatologist/
- Home. What is endocrinology? | Society for Endocrinology. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.endocrinology.org/about-us/what-is-endocrinology/
- What is a gastroenterologist? American College of Gastroenterology. (2019, September 9). Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://gi.org/patients/gi-health-and-disease/what-is-a-gastroenterologist/
- R; E. J. J. (n.d.). Autoimmune diseases in gastroenterology. Current pharmaceutical design. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22612745/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 15). People with IBD have more chronic diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/features/IBD-more-chronic-diseases.html
- What is dermatology? Healio. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.healio.com/news/dermatology/20120620/what-is-dermatology
- What is a dermatologist? American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.aad.org/public/fad/what-is-a-derm
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Home – books – NCBI. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books
- What is immunology? British Society for Immunology. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.immunology.org/public-information/what-is-immunology
- MedMaven. (2018, July 21). Autoimmune disease: In health as in Life: Teach your daughters well. The Arthritis Connection. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.thearthritisconnection.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/autoimmune-disease-in-health-as-in-life-teach-your-daughters-well