Medical Links
What are Autoimmune Diseases?
Our Stories
ACES Message Board
Coping Information
Easy Cooking
Friends of ACES
Friends We've Lost
Understanding Your Lab Tests
Map & fun stuff

Disclaimer: These  are not intended to replace medical advice or explanation from your medical doctors.  Please consult your physician for information regarding your own care. 


Peripheral Neuropathy:  This is a condition which causes muscle weakness, sensory loss and decreased reflexes due to a degeneration of the nerves going to the area involved.

Pernicious Anemia:  Pernicious anemia is a complex condition that eventually leads to a lack of B12.  Untreated, permanent neurologic disability and death may occur.  

Symptoms include a sore tongue, weakness, numbness and tingling in the extremities, jaundice, pale lips and gums and various gastric , cardiac and central nervous symptoms.

Treatment includes the replacement of B12 and the treatment of symptoms as they occur.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:  (PCO)  An endocronlogical disorder believed to be caused by Insulin Resistance.  Adrenal glands do not work properly, resulting in too much testosterone being  produced which leads to more insulin being produced.  Causes include obesity, hirsutism, male pattern baldness, polycystic ovaries, adult acne, infertility, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer.

Polyglandular Autoimmune Failure:  The failure of multiple glands due to the autoimmune effect.

Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC): 
also called benign intracranial hypertension, literally means "false brain tumor." It is caused by increased pressure within the brain and is most common in women between the ages of 20 and 50. Symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri, which include headache, nausea, vomiting, and pulsating intracranial noises, closely mimic symptoms of brain tumors, possibly because of the abnormal buildup of pressure within the brain. For more info, click here.

Psoriatic Arthritis:   This disease combines rheumatoid-like symptoms and psoriasis of the skin and nails.  Rheumatoid factor is usually negative, but the arthritic symptoms are identical to that of rheumatoid arthritis.  Usually the psoriatic lesions precede the arthritis.  It is believed that a streptococcal infection or trauma triggers the onset of the disease.  As with most of these diseases, there are usually flares alternating with times of minor symptoms.

Pulmonary Fibrosis:  (IPF)(PF)  A condition of the lungs which causes inflammation in the alveolar walls of the lung leading to fibrotic (stiff) tissue.  This is found in many illnesses, including the collagen vascular diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren's, systemic sclerosis and diabetes mellitus.  See also:  interstitial lung disease.

Back To Top


Relapsing Polychondritis:  (RP)  Relapsing polychondritis is an uncommon, multisystem disease that can be life-threatening, debilitating, and difficult to diagnose. It is characterized by recurrent, potentially severe, and frightening episodes of inflammation of cartilaginous tissues. All types of cartilage may be involved, including the elastic cartilage of the ears and nose, the hyaline cartilage of peripheral joints, the fibrocartilage at axial sites, and the cartilage in the tracheobronchial tree. Relapsing polychondritis can also inflame other proteoglycan-rich structures, such as the eye, heart, blood vessels, and inner ear. Systemic symptoms (for example, fever, lethargy, and weight loss) are common, and vasculitis affecting skin or internal organs may occur. Patients can present with a wide array of painful symptoms that often pose major diagnostic dilemmas. Because no specific tests for it are available, relapsing polychondritis must be diagnosed on clinical grounds.

RP is a disease where little research has been done.  Patients frequently experience a much shortened life span and often end up with a tracheostomy.  Please encourage your government officials to instigate scientific study in this often lethal disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:  (RA) Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that affects the connective tissue in the body.  Joint involvement is usually symmetric.

It  results from an immune system that has gone awry.  It is believed that a trigger of some sort initiates the autoimmune response.  Triggers could be a virus, stress or any number of causes.  In other words, we inherit the tendency to develop the disease and it lies dormant until activated.

Rheumatoid arthritis can range from mild to severe.  Symptoms may include joint pain, redness and swelling in joints, morning stiffness, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.  RA damages the collagen tissue in the body and there is usually a symmetrical involvement.  It can, also, effect the body's major organs such as eyes, heart, lungs, skin, blood and kidneys   There are many presenting symptoms of RA. 

The disease is usually progressive.  Early detection and treatment is necessary to help prevent permanent damage to joints and organs.

Back To Top


Sjogren's Syndrome:  (SS)(SJS) Sjogren's is a disorder of the exocrine glands and, often, many major organs.  This easiest way to define Sjogren's is to think of moisture and imagine not having enough.  The most common areas to be affected are the eyes and the mouth.  Unfortunately, a lot of people assume this is a minor disorder.  However, Sjogren's can any organ which excretes moisture.

Sjogren's can be primary or seconday.  Many times, patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and other autoimmune illnesses develop Sjogren's.  Usually, in these instances the disease is not as severe.  However, eye involvement, lack of lubricating tears, and mouth involvement, lack of protective saliva can lead to multiple problems.  Dryness of the eye can lead to decrease of visual acuity and mouth dryness can lead to dental caries, gum disease, loss of teeth and difficulty swallowing.

Primary Sjogren's can affect multiple organs such as the lungs, kidneys, thyroid, nerves, gastrointestional tract, skin and cardiovascular system.  Occasionally primary Sjogren's results in lymphoma.

Dry eyes, mouth, lymph node enlargement, swelling of the parotid glands, extreme fatigue, vaginal dryness, generalized itching, low grade fevers and joint pain may be among the first symptoms.

Treatment is determined by the presenting symptoms, but early detection is crucial.

Back To Top



Tendinitis:  Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon.  Tendons attach muscle to bones.  Tendinitis occurs from strain, another musculoskeletal disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, poor posture, abnormal body development or hypermobility.

 Back To Top


 Ulcerative Colitis:  This is a chronic disorder causing inflammation of the mucosa of the colon.  It is thought to be  caused by an abnormal immune response to food or bacteria.  Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, often with pus and mucous, abdominal pain, irritability, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.  Symptoms typically come and go.

Ulcerative colitis can lead to complications which affect multiple body systems such as musculoskeletal problems, arthritis, liver problems, uveitis of the eye, anemia, skin disorders and multiple gastrointestinal problems.  It can also lead to colorectal cancer.

Back To Top


Vasculitis:  Vasculitis may be any of a broad range of disorders.  Basically, it is the inflammation and destruction of blood vessels which result in not allowing the blood to flow through the vessels.  There are many, many forms of vasculitis, ranging from mild to severe.  It may be a primary disorder or secondary to another illness, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.  Treatment depends upon the type of vasculitis involved.

 Back To Top


Wegener's Granulomatosis: (WG)  This is a severe form of vasculitis (see vaculitis).  It seems to prefer the respiratory tract resulting in interstitial lung disease.  Other manifestations include kidney disease, arthritis, skin, muscle and nerve involvement.  Wegner's generally carries a poor prognosis.

 Back To Top

This page was last updated on 04/23/2005 .
Found a broken link, or problem with a page? Email the webmaster
Copyright 2002-05 ACES-Autoimmune Support Group