Autoimmune Disease Specialist

Christi M. Kenyon, M.D. -  - Rheumatology

Christi M. Kenyon, M.D.

Rheumatology & Internal Medicine located in Seattle, WA

Have you been told you have an autoimmune condition? Disorders of the immune and inflammatory systems have far-reaching effects, but you can understand and manage them. But to do that, you'll need an expert practitioner to help you regain the upper hand. Christi M. Kenyon, MD works with men and women in the Seattle area to diagnose and prevent the worsening of autoimmune diseases. Contact Dr. Kenyon to get the professional help you need.

Autoimmune Disease Q & A

What is an autoimmune disease?

When you have an autoimmune condition, your body’s inflammatory defense system attacks healthy cells instead of solely fighting off the bad ones.

Usually, your body recognizes the good from the bad, but when you are suffering from an autoimmune disease, this regulation can break down. Some diseases, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, target only one area of the body, while others, like lupus, affect many organs. Many of these diseases are difficult to recognize and correctly diagnose in a timely way.

What are the most common autoimmune diseases?

There are over 80 known kinds of autoimmune diseases, with some more common than others:

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The immune system attacks joint tissues and can cause pain, joint deformity, fatigue, and more.  

Psoriasis

Skin layer inflammation leaves scaly, inflamed plaques that can cause scars and pain.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Inflammation in random joints can be constant or come and go in painful, varying patterns.

Lupus

The immune system attacks many areas of the body, which can harm joints and organs and cause rashes, swelling and more.

Graves Disease

Hyperactivity of the thyroid gland leading to sleeping issues, weight loss, muscle weakness, heat sensitivity, and more.

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Usually underactivity of the thyroid gland leading to fatigue, depression, swelling of the thyroid gland, constipation, and more.

What are the most common symptoms of autoimmune diseases?

The fascinating aspect of autoimmunity is that two people with the same disorder can have different symptoms. Likewise, in any given person the symptoms can wax and wane, and show up differently over time.

Autoimmune syndromes have diverse symptoms. However, some symptoms seem to arise in multiple diseases:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Skin problems
  • Abdominal pain or digestive issues
  • Recurring fever
  • Swollen glands

The vague list of “typical” symptoms makes it easy for someone to worry too much about possible autoimmunity when they’re feeling bad for other reasons. But it’s also easy for some doctors to write off “fatigue” as “being tired” rather than seeing it as part of an inflammatory disorder.

How do you treat autoimmune diseases?

There are many ways to control the various autoimmune diseases, and more possibilities are regularly emerging thanks to ongoing research.

For instance, it's increasingly clear that getting enough sleep, properly managing stress, eating a healthy diet, and regularly exercising are the cornerstones to effectively managing diseases that impact multiple organ systems.

But because these disorders involve the very complex regulation of the body’s inflammatory and immune system, all treatments require a thorough understanding of the possible outcomes, both positive and negative. Consulting an expert with up-to-date knowledge of medical literature is key to understanding all of the information available on the internet.

Conditions & Treatments