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Pernicious anemia: A reduction in red blood cells caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, a substance made in the parietal cells of the stomach that’s essential for absorbing vitamin B12 into the body. An autoimmune attack destroys the parietal cells. Vitiligo: A loss of pigmentation of the skin caused by autoimmune destruction of melanocytes, the cells that produce pigmentation. Type 1 diabetes mellitus: (See my book Diabetes For Dummies, 2nd Edition [Wiley].) A disease caused by excessive levels of glucose in the blood as a result of an autoimmune attack on the pancreas, which makes insulin, the chemical that controls the blood glucose. Addison’s disease: Failure of the adrenal gland to produce hydrocortisone as a result of an autoimmune attack on the hydrocortisone- producing adrenal cells. Alopecia areata: Patchy loss of hair in any part of the body, caused by an autoimmune attack on hair follicles. Ovarian failure: Loss of function of the ovaries, resulting in infertility on account of an autoimmune attack on the ovarian follicles, the structures that nurture the eggs. Testicular failure: Loss of fertility as a result of autoimmune attack on the sperm in the testicles. Pituitary failure: Loss of function of the pituitary gland with failure to make the hormones that stimulate other glands, including the thyroid, the adrenal gland, and the ovaries and testicles, as a result of autoimmune attack on pituitary cells. Rheumatoid arthritis: Systemic lupus erythematosis and Sjorgren’s syndrome, all examples of autoimmune attacks on the joints of the body. Whew! That’s really quite a list. But don’t worry. The chances that you’ll get any of the preceding conditions in combination with your autoimmune thyroid disease are quite small, though greater than if you don’t have the thyroid condition. Thyroid autoantibodies are also present in several other clinical conditions, but whether they’re the cause of these conditions or represent a marker for a disturbance in autoimmunity that’s to blame isn’t clear. These clinical conditions are as follows: Increased risk of miscarriage in women attempting to become pregnant by in-vitro fertilization Breast cancer Depression in middle-aged women Another disease that’s found more often in people with certain human leukocyte antigens is

Thyroid for dummies  
Thyroid for dummies  
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