03 Oct Autoimmune Diseases are on the rise!
Sadly, I am increasingly seeing patients newly diagnosed with autoimmune conditions and this trend is predicted to continue in the coming years.
A new study published in the Lancet journal evaluated the incidence of newly diagnosed autoimmune conditions in the UK population. Between 2019 and 2000, 10.2% of the UK population were diagnosed with autoimmune conditions.
Average age of diagnosis was 54 years. Of these almost 64% were women.
The largest rises in disease diagnoses were in Celiac disease, Sjogren’s syndrome (which commonly presents with dry mouth and eyes), and Grave’s disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism).
Unfortunately, autoimmune conditions tend to travel in packs; if you have one, you’re more likely to be diagnosed with additional conditions.
I believe this rise in autoimmunity is multi-factorial: diet, lifestyle, stress, environmental exposures, and microbial infections (eg COVID-19) are the major factors at play. They interact with genetic predisposition to lower the threshold of developing autoimmunity.
It’s worthwhile to know your family history in terms of autoimmune diagnoses. The possibility of an autoimmune disease should be on everyone’s radar as something to think about if you experience new and unexplained symptoms. The sooner the autoimmunity is addressed, the better.