Category:

Autoimmune Disease

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Does the Treatment for Your Autoimmune Disease Go Deep Enough?

If you’ve ever wondered what triggers an autoimmune disease, you’re not alone. This question has been a mystery since the discovery of autoimmunity. Normally, our immune system protects our bodies against infection. But with autoimmune disease, that same faithful system malfunctions and attacks healthy cells.

The exact mechanism that gives rise to an autoimmune disease still puzzles medical minds. However, evidence suggests that the cause can often be traced to a genetic susceptibility triggered by one or more environmental factors. These can include chronic stress, poor diet, gut dysbiosis, infections, environmental toxins, as well as other stressors.

Recent research points to various infectious agents (viruses and bacteria) as being major triggers for several autoimmune diseases, including the following:

Autoimmune Disease Infectious Agent
Guillain-Barré syndrome Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, Campylobacter (bacteria)
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (hypothyroidism) Epstein-Barr virus
Lupus Epstein-Barr virus
Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi (bacteria) and Borrelia mayonii (bacteria)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) Epstein-Barr virus and measles virus
Myasthenia gravis Hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus
Myocarditis Coxsackievirus B3, cytomegalovirus, chlamydia (bacteria)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C virus, Escherichia coli (bacteria), mycobacteria
Type 1 diabetes Coxsackievirus B4, cytomegalovirus, mumps virus, and rubella virus

Medical researchers and clinical practitioners have different theories on how infections trigger autoimmune disease. Some suggest that the antibodies produced in response to certain infections attack healthy cells in the body that resemble, in some way, the bacteria or virus that caused the infection. Others note that many viruses infect the immune cells in order to reproduce, and that this infection alters the immune response. A third possibility is that the infection flips a switch in the host’s genes that negatively impacts immune function.

Focusing on the Epstein-Barr Virus

As you skim through the table above, you may notice that one virus in particular — the Epstein-Barr virus — is implicated in a number of autoimmune diseases. Epstein-Barr virus may play a role in many autoimmune diseases for the following reasons: continue reading

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