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Risk Factors For Autoimmune Diseases

There are several autoimmune diseases (celiac disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc) that are responsible for many cases of chronic pain. Since this is the case, it's good to know what the risk factors are, just as you would want to know your risk for heart disease, cancer or anything else.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

1) You already have one autoimmune disease: One in four persons who already has one autoimmune disorder will develop a second autoimmune disorder.

2) Ethnicity: African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asians are at highest risk.

3) Family history: Some types of autoimmune disease run in families. If a close relative has an autoimmune disorder, you have an increased risk simply due to genetic similarities.

4) Gender: A woman's risk of developing an autoimmune disease is generally three times higher than male counterparts. Some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, are even more prevalent in females.

5) Your spouse has celiac disease: A 2015 study found that people married to someone with celiac disease do no share genetics, but DO share the same environmental factors that may predispose them to an autoimmune disorder.

6) Age: Many autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and celiac disease affect young to middle aged persons. Others, such as rheumatoid arthritis, will develop in the later years of life.

7) Previous infection: Some bacterial or viral infections may "set the stage" for development of an autoimmune disorder. An interesting example is the recent discovery that reovirus, which is usually innocuous, may actually be the trigger for the development of celiac disease.

Sources: Prevention; Everyday; Wiki media


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