Environmental Factors and Their Threat on Autoimmune Diseases

It’s no secret that the environment that we live in can significantly impact our health. The quality of our air, food, water, and soil all have a direct effect on how well our bodies can function. This is especially true for those of us who are living with or are more likely to develop an autoimmune disorder.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system starts to treat its cells as foreign bodies. Then and only then starts attacking healthy tissue. While the cause of these diseases is still unknown, there is evidence that suggests that the elements you are exposed to in your day-to-day life can trigger an autoimmune response if you are genetically predisposed to it. Below are some of the environmental factors that can trigger autoimmune diseases.

Toxins

You are born with a specific set of instructions on how to function. This is also your DNA, or genetics. These instructions also include many different components. For instance, the color of your hair. As well as how many hours of sleep you need. Also how it fights diseases. Now your sequence of DNA cannot be changed. Yet the things that are in your environment can affect how your body expresses these traits. All most importantly by changing the proteins that your DNA produces.

It’s important to remember that this is a natural process. One moreover that happens to everyone. However, recent studies have shown that exposure to certain toxins. For those can trigger an autoimmune response. Mercury, for example, is a toxin that can commonly be found in seafood. Research shows that people who have higher exposure to mercury also tend to have a higher count of autoantibodies. One which doctors associate with having an autoimmune disorder. 

TCE, another chemical that can be found in cleaning products, has shown a similar ability to change the way that the body produces proteins and has been linked to the development of lupus. These chemicals on their own can’t cause autoimmune disorders. However, it’s clear that their presence in our environment can have lasting effects on our immune system.

Plastics

Another way people can be exposed to toxins is through the materials they use, specifically plastics. BPA, which is found in everyday items like water bottles, food storage containers, and even store receipts, has been shown to trigger an autoimmune reaction to the nervous system. This can lead to the development of an autoimmune neurological disease like MS or Parkison’s disease.

It’s almost impossible to completely eliminate your exposure to BPA. However there are things that you can do to reduce your exposure. Switching your reusable food and drink containers to glass or aluminum is just one example of a simple change. You can also buy fresh produce at the farmer’s market instead of produce that comes in plastic. Additionally, you can drink tap water instead of bottled water. 

Bacteria and Viruses

One can’t forget about the living things in our environment that can be hurting our health. Infections of bacteria or viruses can lead to both the onset and flare-up of different autoimmune diseases. Even the most common illnesses can increase your risk of autoimmunity.

Strep throat, for example, is a bacterial infection. One that tends to affect children and young adults. Although most people are able to heal from this fairly easily. Yet also strep throat has been shown to trigger the autoimmune disease psoriasis in those who are predisposed. Thereby causing tiny red dots to form on the skin. Other triggers are viral infections like chickenpox and the flu. Researchers are still not sure why this happens. For I mean why these bacteria and viruses prompt such an adverse reaction to the immune system. However, there is a clear relationship between the two events. One most importantly that has been observed over the past few decades.

Most noteworthy, autoimmune diseases themselves are not contagious. Yet it is clear that those who are at risk for developing these diseases should avoid getting sick when possible. Be sure to wash your hands regularly. Moreover to distance yourself from people with contagious diseases. This can help prevent the onset or worsening of an autoimmune disease. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the elements in your environment can have a major effect on your health. If you or a close family member live with an autoimmune disease take care. I mean you have to be careful to limit your exposure. Especially to things that can increase your risk of triggering an outbreak.