Learn more about a specific immune-mediated disease by selecting a
therapeutic area below and hovering over the body model hot spots.
This section, Disease Education, focuses on various aspects of inflammatory disease such as disease overviews, signs and symptoms, and assessment tools.
Dermatology is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders. It is a specialty with both medical and surgical aspects.
Psoriasis (PsO) is a chronic autoimmune skin disease that accelerates skin cell growth, thus causing patches of thick red skin and silvery scales to emerge. These patches and scales can appear anywhere on the body, but are usually found on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of feet.1,2 There are five main types of PsO: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic.3
Gastroenterology is the study of the various organs that make up the gastrointestinal system
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic, idiopathic inflammatory disease of the colonic mucosa that typically starts in the rectum and spreads proximally through part of or the entire colon in a continuous pattern.1 UC has an increasing incidence worldwide, with nearly one million individuals each in the United States and Europe affected by this condition and many more throughout the world.2
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are chronic inflammatory maladies of the GI system that affect over one million people in the US and several million worldwide. The large intestine is commonly affected, leading to either ulcerative colitis (UC) or IBD type unclassified (IBDU), in addition to a subset of noncomplicated Crohn’s disease (CD). When the disease spreads to other gastrointestinal segments, this leads to CD.
A customized clinical management plan is critical in the differential diagnosis in patients presenting with IBD colitis since each disease involves specific therapeutic and management strategies. In addition, less common forms of either UC or Crohn’s colitis still present difficult clinical issues since no universally accepted set of diagnostic criteria exists. In fact, it is estimated that between 5% to 15% of cases do not meet strict criteria for either UC or CD; explaining why up to 14% of the diagnoses for patients with UC or CD change over time.1
Crohn's disease (CD) is a type of IBD that may affect any segment of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus.1 Symptoms often include abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is severe), fever, and weight loss.2 Bowel obstruction may occur as a complication of chronic inflammation, as will fistulas and abscesses. In addition, those with the disease are at greater risk of colon cancer. Other complications of CD include malnutrition and inflammation in other areas of the body, such as joints, eyes, and skin.1
Neurology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of conditions and disease involving the central and peripheral nervous systems (and their subdivisions, the autonomic and somatic nervous systems).1
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease of the central nervous system (CNS). MS is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that damages the myelinated axons in the CNS, resulting in the myelin being fragmented and leading to exposed axons. While the disease course of MS has high variability and is unpredictable, for most patients the disease begins with episodes of reversible neurological deficits, and is then frequently followed by progressive neurological deterioration over time.1
Rheumatology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and diseases that affect joints, muscles, and bones; and, many of these diseases have been linked to disorders of the immune system.1 There are more than 200 different rheumatic diseases, including various types of arthritis, osteoporosis, and systemic connective tissue diseases. In the industrialized world, more people suffer from rheumatic diseases than any other disease group. In fact, a third of people of all ages have a rheumatic disease at some point during their lifetime.2
Lupus nephritis (LN) is an inflammation of the kidneys caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In fact, there is renal involvement in the vast majority of patients with SLE at some time during the disease course; estimated between 66% to 90% of the cases of SLE. The presence of subendothelial deposits in glomerular capillaries is crucial in initiating severe renal damage and they correlate with endocapillary proliferation, necrosis, karyorrhexis, and crescents. Renal disease is one of the highest causes of mortality in SLE and warrants much more consideration in the management of LN/SLE patients.1
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory joint disease where a person’s immune system attacks normal tissues in the body, especially the skin and joints. This causes overgrowth of skin cells as well as inflammation in the peripheral joints and entheses, leading to structural damage.1 PsA occurs in up to 30% of patients who have psoriasis and is often progressive, especially if not treated. Though PsA generally occurs in patients who already have psoriasis, it may occur as the first sign of the disease, making differentiation from other types of arthritis, such as RA, difficult.2
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints. The worldwide prevalence of RA has been estimated as 0.24% based upon the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study. Prevalence rates in the US and Northern Europe are somewhat higher, with estimates between 0.5% and 1% and the annual incidence of RA in these areas is estimated at around 40 per 100,000 persons. RA primarily affects women, in whom incidence and prevalence rates of RA are twice as high as in men, with the lifetime risk of developing RA at 3.6% in women compared to only 1.7% in men.1
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in connective tissues and can impact a variety of body systems resulting in renal, dermatological, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and nervous system clinical presentations. The exact prevalence is difficult to determine because many of the signs and symptoms of SLE resemble those of other disorders. Diagnosis may be delayed for years, and the condition may never be diagnosed in some affected individuals.1