Viruses and bacteria may play a role in the development of autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is present when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own organs and tissues, thinking it is fighting a pathogen. When looking for the cause of an autoimmune disease, it may be worthwhile to pinpoint a related virus. An example of this is celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which symptoms are triggered by eating gluten.
Only 17% of people with celiac disease have been diagnosed. However, it affects 1 in 133 people in the U.S. When you get sick, your body produces an immune response: antibodies. These antibodies may attack your own cells, too, because they can look similar to the virus or bacteria.
Many viruses are thought to be connected to autoimmunity. Some of these viruses are even linked with multiple conditions. Here are a few examples:
- Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis is linked with HSV1 and HSV2, hepatitis C, CMV, and Epstein Barr (EBV) virus
- Lupus is associated with EBV
- Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with E-coli bacteria, mycobacteria, hepatitis C and EBV
- Multiple Sclerosis is associated with the measles virus and EBV.
If you are looking to get to the root cause of your condition, it is wise to take viral exposure into account. Contact our office if you need help treating your autoimmune disease; we would love to see you!