Autoimmune disease can greatly affect all parts of the body, and the hands are no exception. A number of issues in the hands, including rheumatoid arthritis, are said to be substantially impacted by autoimmunity. In your search for the best carpal tunnel doctor has to offer, you may wish to have some background information on autoimmune hand diseases.
What is an Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease is a physical condition in which the body mistakes healthy, necessary cells for pathogens. The immune system erroneously attacks tissues and substances key to the body's survival. This can degrade the quality of life of the sufferer and may even completely immobilize certain muscle groups and make them unusable.
A high number of diseases are characterized by autoimmunity related issues, and are classified into sets based on the type of hypersensitivity involved: type II, type III, or type IV. Type I hypersensitivity is not linked to autoimmune hand disease.
How Does Autoimmunity Affect the Hands?
A common type of autoimmune hand disease is rheumatoid arthritis. In this condition, chronic inflammation occurs in the joints of the hand as well as other parts of the body. Left untreated by surgery and other care options, this can cause permanent deformity and destruction in the joints.
One of the ways autoimmunity can affect the hands is by causing a condition known as peripheral neuropathy. The immune system may attack parts of the nervous system, which is responsible for transmitting information from the central nervous system (consisting of the spinal cord and brain) to all other body parts, including the hands. When autoimmunity leads to peripheral neuropathy in the hands, symptoms such as pain, tingling and numbness can begin to occur.
When the hands feel cold for unexplained reasons, this is a sign of an autoimmune hand disease called hemolytic anemia. In this ailment, the immune system attacks and destroys the body's red blood cells. The body will try to regenerate the missing cells, but cannot keep up with the rate of destruction. The result is lack of sufficient oxygen, which causes the heart to work harder. In multiple sclerosis, the immune system assaults the nerves' protective coating. This can cause numbness and tingling in the hands due to spinal cord and brain symptoms resulting from the nerve damage.
These are a few examples, but there are countless other autoimmune diseases that can affect the nerves and tissues within your hands and those that are connected to them. Many of the effects occur for similar or identical reasons. Even the skin itself can be affected by autoimmunity.
What are the Care Options for Hand Issues Associated with an Autoimmune Disease?
Seeking Healthcare Professionals
A Hand Specialist can help with the care needed for hand issues resulting from autoimmune disease. Those include:
- Hand Surgeon
- Other Specialists who Treat Autoimmune Hand Disease
Your primary physician can make recommendations on these and other healthcare professionals that can help heal, treat and combat the pain, discomfort and immobility that may be associated with autoimmune hand disease.
You may find your most effective healing options from a rheumatologist or arthritis specialist. Los Angeles has some of the best medical professionals in the world who specialize in autoimmune hand disease.