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Re: [IP] Autoimmune Question

After reading a few of the responses to this question, it struck me that
a little clarification might be in order.

An auto-immune disease is one in which the body attacks itself.  The
immune system forms antibodies which attack and kill a target tissue.
Among known auto-immune diseases are Type 1 diabetes, where the target
tissue is the beta cells of the pancreas, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
(thyroid), Addison's Disease (adrenal gland), Sjogren's Syndrome
(salivary glands and tear glands), Lupus Erythematosus (Connective
Tissue), Rheumatoid Arthritis (joint cartilage), and Multiple Sclerosis
(nerve cells). 

People develop auto-immune diseases because they're genetically
susceptible to them; however, it requires some sort of environmental
event to trigger them.

So if you had chickenpox or mumps or whatever, it WASN'T the virus that
caused your DM; the virus only triggered the susceptibility you were
born with.
And the trigger may not even have been the obvious illness (post  hoc,
ergo propter hoc fallacy!); it may have been a minor infection with
something else, that you weren't even aware of. 

Some people who have one auto-immune disease develop others as well
--Type 1 diabetics are more susceptible to thyroid and adrenal problems
than the general population -- but having one auto-immune disease does
not automatically mean you will get another. 

I don't know whether it is the same genes that predispose (there's that
word again, Jim H!) a person to auto-immune diseases in general or
whether there are separate genetic susceptibilities for different
diseases. I'd like to know about that. I tested positive for
anti-thyroid antibodies (diagosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis), but I
don't know if my diabetes is auto-immune or not. 

I do know that there are both Type 1 and rheumatoid arthritis running
through the family of a friend of mine. I don't know if this family
simply has the bad luck of having two kinds of auto-immune diseases, or
whether it's a more general susceptibility. 

 ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- ._c- 
 Natalie A. Sera, with all her ducks in a row!
 Type Weird, pumping!
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 Can YOU find the ugly duckling? (Hint: it ain't the pumperduck!)

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