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Understanding Autoimmune Diseases

Joseph Bisignano DVM

After earning his doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) at the Western University of Health Sciences, Joseph Bisignano became intern of the year at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital where he now serves as a veterinary internal medicine specialist. In his work with animals, Joseph Bisignano, DVM, draws on training in a diverse range of medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases.

Created when the immune system malfunctions for reasons medical science does not yet fully understand, autoimmune diseases often occur when antibodies created by the immune system begin attacking healthy cells. For example, Hashimoto's thyroiditis results when antibodies destroy cells in the thyroid gland that normally release thyroid hormone. As a consequence of this disfunction, the immune system also fails to effectively defend the body against disease and infection.
Existing autoimmune diseases now number more than 100. They include conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and vasculitis.
Different autoimmune diseases typically have some symptoms in common. These shared symptoms may include abdominal pain and digestive problems, joint issues, recurring fevers, and skin problems, and others range from difficulty concentrating to fatigue.

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