Autoimmune diseases are very diverse and include many common diseases of unknown etiology. Diagnosis can be challenging but can be facilitated by the identification of characteristic autoantibodies (AuAbs), which are present in varying frequencies. Identification of such AuAbs requires a range of different techniques, depending on the autoantigens in question. Each individual AuAb assay is characterized by analytical sensitivity and specificity, which in turn determines clinical sensitivity and specificity in relation to diseases. Clinical sensitivities and specificities vary much, but many AuAb analyses can be of significant help in establishing correct diagnoses. It remains unsettled whether AuAbs are generally pathogenic, but it is generally agreed that autoimmune diseases are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and that early and correct diagnosis facilitates treatment.