Autoimmune diseases are caused by your body not recognizing your cells as ‘self’. It triggers an immune response that attacks your own cells.
Genetic susceptibility combines with environmental triggers in causing autoimmune diseases.
What are ‘environmental triggers’? They can be anything in your environment that tips your immune response into attacking your own cells.
Known triggers include:[ref]
- Viruses (Epstein Barr, cytomegalovirus)
- Toxin exposure (smoking, air pollution, vinyl chloride)[ref][ref]
- Vaccines (Covid-19, Flu, HPV)[ref][ref]
- Sleep disorders[ref]
- Environmental conditions (cold, vibration)[ref]
- Certain medications
- Silicone breast implants[ref]
- Heavy metals and environmental contaminants (mercury, arsenic)[ref][ref]
Specific Autoimmune Diseases
Symptoms: Autoimmune hair loss – either patchy or diffuse.
Genes: CTLA4, PTPN22, HLA, IL17F, IL17RA, IL18, IL2, MIF, TNF
Symptoms: Blue or white-tipped fingers (painful) when exposed to cold
Genes: NOS1, IL1B, INFG, TNF, HTR1B
Main symptoms: Painfully cracked skin, inflamed scalp
Genes: HLA-C, HLA-B, IL23, PTPN22
Main symptoms: gastrointestinal issues, nutrient deficiency
Genes: HLA-DQ2.5, HLA-DQ8
Main symptoms: Ringing in the ears and vertigo
Genes: NFKB1, KCNE1, KCNE3, HRH4, IL1A
Main symptoms: fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain, hair loss
Genes: TSHR, TPO, DIO1, DIO2, PTPN22
Main symptoms: Fatigue, pain, brain fog, reduction in life quality
Genes: NLRP3, CTLA4, TNF, IFNG, TRPM8, TRPM3, CFB, CFH
Genes that impact autoimmune disease risk
Related autoimmune diseases: ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, IBD, psoriasis
Related autoimmune diseases: RA, psoriasis, celiac, ulcerative colitis, Hashimoto’s
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. Fascinated by the connections between genes, diet, and health, her goal is to help you understand how to apply genetics to your diet and lifestyle decisions. Debbie has a BS in engineering and also an MSc in biological sciences from Clemson University. Debbie combines an engineering mindset with a biological systems approach to help you understand how genetic differences impact your optimal health.