K-Z of other autoimmune conditions

These pages summarise some of the more common autoimmune conditions that start with letters between K and Z and their symptoms

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

A disease in which the immune system attacks the protective coating around the nerves. The damage affects the brain and spinal cord.

  • Weakness and trouble with coordination, balance, speaking, and walking
  • Paralysis
  • Tremors
  • Numbness and tingling feeling in arms, legs, hands, and feet
  • Symptoms vary because the location and extent of each attack vary

Myasthenia gravis (MG)

A disease in which the immune system attacks the nerves and muscles throughout the body.

  • Double vision, trouble keeping a steady gaze, and drooping eyelids
  • Trouble swallowing, with frequent gagging or choking
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Muscles that work better after rest
  • Drooping head
  • Trouble climbing stairs or lifting things
  • Trouble talking

Primary biliary cirrhosis

The immune system slowly destroys the liver’s bile ducts. Bile is a substance made in the liver. It travels through the bile ducts to help with digestion. When the ducts are destroyed, the bile builds up in the liver and hurts it. The damage causes the liver to harden and scar, and eventually stop working.

  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Yellowing of skin and whites of eyes

Psoriasis

A disease that causes new skin cells that grow deep in your skin to rise too fast and pile up on the skin surface.

  • Thick red patches, covered with scales, usually appearing on the head, elbows, and knees
  • Itching and pain, which can make it hard to sleep, walk, and care for yourself

May have:

  • A form of arthritis that often affects the joints and the ends of the fingers and toes. Back pain can occur if the spine is involved.

Rheumatoid arthritis

A disease in which the immune system attacks the lining of the joints throughout the body.

  • Painful, stiff, swollen, and deformed joints
  • Reduced movement and function

May have:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Eye inflammation
  • Lung disease
  • Lumps of tissue under the skin, often the elbows
  • Anaemia

Scleroderma

A disease causing abnormal growth of connective tissue in the skin and blood vessels.

  • Fingers and toes that turn white, red, or blue in response to heat and cold
  • Pain, stiffness, and swelling of fingers and joints
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Skin that looks shiny on the hands and forearm
  • Tight and mask-like facial skin
  • Sores on the fingers or toes
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Shortness of breath

Sjögren’s syndrome

A disease in which the immune system targets the glands that make moisture, such as tears and saliva.

  • Dry eyes or eyes that itch
  • Dryness of the mouth, which can cause sores
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Severe dental cavities
  • Hoarse voice
  • Fatigue
  • Joint swelling or pain
  • Swollen glands
  • Cloudy eyes

Systemic lupus erythematosus

A disease that can damage the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, and other parts of the body. Also called SLE or lupus.

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Fatigue
  • ‘Butterfly’ rash across the nose and cheeks
  • Rashes on other parts of the body
  • Painful or swollen joints and muscle pain
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Chest pain
  • Headache, dizziness, seizure, memory problems, or change in behaviour

Vitiligo

The immune system destroys the cells that give your skin its colour. It also can affect the tissue inside your mouth and nose.

  • White patches on areas exposed to the sun, or on armpits, genitals, and rectum
  • Hair turns grey early
  • Loss of colour inside your mouth

Content on this page was adapted from womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/autoimmune-diseases.html