Some autoimmune diseases are considered organ specific, means the immune system particularly targets the particular organs or tissues. Organ-specific autoimmune diseases include celiac disease, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, type I diabetes, and Addison disease. Celiac disease is largely a disease of the small intestine; along with small intestine other organs may be affected. People in the age of 30s and 40s, and children are mostly affected, but celiac disease can begin at any age. It results from a response to proteins, commonly called gluten, found mainly in wheat, barley, rye, and a few other grains. The disease has several genetic causes (predispositions). On exposure to gluten, the body produces different autoantibodies and an inflammatory response. The inflammatory response in the small intestine leads to decrease in the depth of the microvilli of the mucosa, which hinders absorption and can lead to weight loss and anemia. Sometimes it is also characterized by diarrhea and abdominal pain, symptoms that are frequently misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome.
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