Autoimmune Diseases

Stuart Lerner, MD

Family Medicine & Holistic Medicine located in Kailua, HI

Autoimmune diseases are illnesses caused by a malfunctioning immune system. If you’ve been struggling to control yours, reach out to the practice of Stuart Lerner, MD, in Kailua, Hawaii. Dr. Lerner and his team are here for you. Take a step in the right direction by calling or scheduling an appointment with Dr. Lerner online today.

Autoimmune Diseases Q & A

What are autoimmune diseases?

Autoimmune diseases are diseases and disorders that appear due to the malfunctioning of the immune system. Autoimmune diseases cause your immune system to attack not only foreign bodies and invaders, but also healthy cells.

Autoimmune systems have no exact known cause. However, they often run in families and tend to affect certain populations more heavily than others. You are statistically more likely to have or develop an autoimmune disease if you’re a female member of the African American, Hispanic, or Native American communities.

There are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases. Among the most common autoimmune diseases are:

  • Lupus
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Alopecia areata
  • Celiac disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


Many of these diseases have similar symptoms, so you can spend years struggling to find the right diagnosis and get your symptoms under control.

What is lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease. If you have lupus, your immune system creates antibodies that target both foreign invaders, like bacteria and viruses, and a variety of healthy tissues. Because of its wide scope, lupus can damage any part of your body, including your skin, organs, and joints.

Common lupus symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Light or sun sensitivity
  • Painful or swollen joints
  • Anemia
  • Pain in the chest or pain when breathing deeply
  • Abnormal blood clotting
  • Swelling around the eyes and in the legs, hands, or feet
  • A butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks
  • Hair loss
  • Nose or mouth ulcers
  • Fingers that turn blue or white when cold


Symptoms of lupus, like all autoimmune diseases, go through periods of worsening, flare-ups, and apparent remission.

How do you treat autoimmune conditions?

While there is no one therapy for autoimmune diseases, most treatments focus on reducing inflammation in the body. Some of the most common shared autoimmune disease symptoms, such as redness, swelling, heat, and pain, are a result of inflammation.

If you’re ready for answers and a treatment that works for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lerner at his office in Kailua, Hawaii. To do so, call the office or use the online booking tool today.