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Your immune system battles viruses, bacteria and other invaders to keep you healthy. But sometimes it can get confused — and attack you instead.

Autoimmune disorders can throw your body completely out of sync. Maybe you’ve even had tests — but still no answers to why you feel so bad. These disorders are tricky because their symptoms are the same as lots of other conditions. And that often makes them tough to diagnose.

Cleveland Clinic healthcare providers understand the complex way many autoimmune disorders work. And we can customize a treatment plan based on your needs and goals — so you can get back to feeling more like yourself.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Autoimmune Disorders Care?

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Comprehensive treatment:

Our healthcare providers work together as a team to provide lifelong care for autoimmune disorders. We use medications, rehabilitation, nutrition and counseling to help reduce the impact of your symptoms on daily life. Meet our team.

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Innovation and research:

As a leader in autoimmune disorder treatment, Cleveland Clinic offers treatment options that aren’t yet widely available. This includes biologic agents, which prevent cell interactions that trigger inflammation. We’re also exploring innovative medical therapies through clinical trials.

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Demonstrated expertise:

Our commitment to exceptional autoimmune disorder care and outcomes has earned us important designations from the Scleroderma Foundation, Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research and National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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Virtual visits:

Not all appointments need to be in person. Virtual visits are the perfect alternative when you want to have a quick check-in with your provider. All you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer — and an internet connection.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We’re recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Diagnosing Autoimmune Disorders at Cleveland Clinic

There are more than 100 autoimmune disorders that affect different parts of your body — from your digestive system to your skin, joints and muscles. Some of these conditions include:

Everyone experiences autoimmune disorders differently. Sometimes the condition is straightforward. But other times, these conditions can be complex and hard to diagnose quickly. Your providers will sort through your symptoms and may even do a few rounds of testing. It often takes time to correctly confirm what’s going on so you can start treatment and get some relief.

What to expect at your first visit

No one knows more about how you’re feeling than you. That’s why your provider will ask you to share your story during your first appointment. It helps them better understand what’s been happening to you. They’ll want to hear about:

  • What kind of symptoms you’ve been having.
  • How long you’ve had these symptoms.
  • If your symptoms come and go (flare up).
  • If your symptoms are getting worse.
  • What you’re doing to manage your symptoms.
  • If you’re taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • How your symptoms are affecting your life.
  • If anyone in your family has an autoimmune disorder.

You’ll also have a physical exam so your provider can check for signs of an autoimmune disorder. These could include swelling, muscle weakness, pain, rashes, redness and swollen glands, to name a few. Your provider may also order tests, like:

Blood tests

  • Antinuclear antibody test (ANA): Looks for antibodies (proteins) in your white blood cells that can attack the center (nucleus) of these cells.
  • Complete blood count (CBC): Measures and counts blood cells, which helps us spot signs of autoimmune disorders.
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): Finds inflammation in your body.

Other tests

Depending on your symptoms, we may also do tests that give us a closer look inside your body, like:

Meet Our Autoimmune Disorders Team

At Cleveland Clinic, we believe in a team-based approach to care. Because autoimmune disorders affect different parts of your body, your care team may have providers from several specialties. All these experts work together to make sure your care always centers on you and your needs. Your unique team could include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.

Treating Autoimmune Disorders at Cleveland Clinic

Treating autoimmune disorders can slow their progression, reduce flare-ups and manage ongoing (chronic) symptoms. Your treatment plan depends on your diagnosis, symptoms and overall health.

Before you start treatment, your care team will meet to decide what treatments will work best for you and help reduce the chance of flare-ups (symptoms that come and go). And then they’ll work with you to make sure you understand what to expect.


Most often, your providers will prescribe medications. You may take one or have a combination of them. Depending on your needs, these may include:

Support for autoimmune disorders

We also offer many ways to support you as you learn to manage your autoimmune disorder. Our physical and occupational therapists can help you stay strong, start an exercise routine and find better ways to do tasks that become challenging.

Our dietitians can work with you to follow a healthy eating plan that can help you feel better and even lessen inflammation. If you’re facing challenges with work or insurance, our social workers are here to guide you. And if you need help with anxiety, depression or frustrations over your diagnosis, we have a team of caring psychologists ready to listen.

Taking the Next Step

It can be tough to diagnose an autoimmune disorder. But our healthcare providers do it every day. Finding out what’s going on is the first step to learning how to live with and manage the battle between your immune system and your body. Once we know what’s happening, we can give you personalized treatment that matches your unique needs. And through it all, you’ll remain our focus. We’ll keep you in the loop and guide you through what to expect at every step. Our goal is to help you find the best ways to keep living a full, active life.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s autoimmune disorder experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s autoimmune disorder experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

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