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Rheumatology | Autoimmune Diseases

MaineHealth rheumatology specialists treat people of all ages with musculoskeletal and autoimmune disorders that can cause pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity. Most of our rheumatologists work at specialty practices and clinics, but are affiliated with local hospitals. View our directory of rheumatologists.

What is an autoimmune disorder?

When your immune system is functioning properly, it protects your body from disease. If you have an autoimmune condition, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body. There are many types of autoimmune diseases, and they can affect many parts of the body.

Pediatric Autoimmune Disease

MaineHealth also offers help for children with autoimmune disorders such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, lupus and scleroderma. Pediatric rheumatologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat both common and rare conditions in children.

Start with Primary Care

If you believe you or someone you love may have an autoimmune disease, talk to your primary care provider about a referral to one of our rheumatologists.

Autoimmune Disorder Symptoms and Diagnosis

Autoimmune diseases are chronic conditions. Most patients learn to manage their symptoms over time. Symptoms may include:

  • Redness in the affected area
  • Swelling
  • Pain and discomfort
  • The affected area feels hot
  • Inflammation

Your doctor will use blood tests to help determine the types of antibodies your body is producing. Treatment depends on the type of autoimmune disorder and other factors. Your doctor will develop a plan to reduce the symptoms caused by your autoimmune disorder and help you manage your chronic condition long-term.