The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association estimates that one in five Americans, or 50 million people, suffer from autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease results when cells and other components of the body's immune system, designed to protect us from invading microbes such as bacteria or viruses, mistakenly attack a person's own organs. These diseases run the gamut from mild to potentially life-threatening, and include chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many others.
The Encyclopedia of Autoimmune Diseases is the only reference of its kind available to general readers. This comprehensive A-to-Z resource covers the human immune system and what happens when it malfunctions, including details on a wide range of autoimmune diseases, the latest information on treatments, and suggestions on how to cope with them. Several appendixes list common medications used for treatment; organizations offering advocacy, support, and information; related Web sites; and government agencies.
More than 300 cross-referenced entries include autoimmunity, bone marrow, cellular immunity (cell-mediated immunity), DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), fungi, genetic engineering, graft-versus-host disease, leukocytes, mast cells, natural killer (NK) cell, platelets, stem cells, transplant rejection, vaccine, and virus.