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Re: [IP] Autoimmunity -- attn. Andrew

There was an article on this topic in the New 
York Times in mid-June. (I can find the exact 
date and title if anyone is curious.) The main 
points of the article were a) that autoimmune 
disorders are far more common in women than in 
men, and b) they tend to run in families -- not 
necessarily the same disease, but autoimmune 
diseases in general. It included speculation on 
why autoimmune diseases tend to occur more often
in women. (It stated that type 1 diabetes is 
twice as common in women. Is that really true?
I'd never read this anywhere before.)

Both my mother and my maternal grandmother had 
hyperactive thyroid (almost certainly Graves' 
Disease, though nobody ever called it that). 
Both were treated by partial or complete removal 
of the thyroid gland. (My mother takes a daily 
thyroid pill and has never had any longterm 
effects that I know of. Neither did my grand-
mother. In retrospect, knowing what I do about 
how hard diabetes is to manage, this amazes me.) 
As far as I know, that's the only autoimmune 
disease history in the family. 

I just saw my endocrinologist yesterday, and 
he says that although my T3 and T4 levels are 
normal, my slightly but consistently low TSH 
level indicates that I, too, may be at risk for 
Graves' Disease. They did a thyroid antibody 
test, but the results haven't come back yet. 

/Janet Lafler
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