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Autoimmune diseases Part 1: background and diagnosis

Content developed by Clarity Informatics,

Content developed by Dr Gerry Morrow MB ChB, MRCGP, Dip CBT

Medical Director Clarity Informatics and Editor, Clinical Knowledge Summaries


Autoimmune diseases are increasing in prevalence and early diagnosis can improve outcomes. This module explores the background to the most common of these conditions, the signs and symptoms and the investigations involved in making a diagnosis.


After working through this module, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the concept of autoimmunity and the disease burden which it represents
  • Describe the pathogenesis of autoimmunity
  • Present an outline the range of autoimmune diseases and the potential differential diagnoses
  • Take a detailed history and know what examinations to undertake in people suffering autoimmune disease
  • Describe the investigations needed to diagnose rheumatoid disease, autoimmune thyroid disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

This resource is provided at an intermediate level. Read the article and answer the self-assessment questions, and reflect on what you have learned.

Complete the resource to obtain a certificate to include in your revalidation portfolio. You should record the time spent on this resource in your CPD log.