The Infectious and Chronic Disease Link to Autoimmune Diseases
Lupus is a common autoimmune disorder which affects many systems and internal organs. Understanding the link between infectious disease and autoimmunity is critical. Envita provides the best, targeted and completely personalized treatment plan to lupus patients.
The link between infection and chronic disease has been known for a while, but only recently has the degree of this connection come to light. Infection may be responsible for more medical maladies than we realize, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases. An increasingly molecular approach to diagnosis is beginning to shed some light on this relationship.
In the United States, 70% of all deaths are caused by chronic disease and more than 90 million people suffer daily. For decades, researchers have known that tuberculosis, syphilis, leprosy and a number of parasitic diseases are responsible for the origins of some chronic diseases. But only recently has a connection been established between infections and cancer, coronary artery disease, neurological disorders and other maladies.
The infection-chronic disease link went undetected for many years primarily because of the limitations of microbiology at the time and because of the immense microbial diversity. Further difficulties in identifying infection as the origin of chronic disease stemmed from the fact that many microbes cause their host to attack itself (such is the case of autoimmune disorders), making the link between infection and chronic disease less obvious. Some microbes also cause chronic disease or other maladies in an indirect or circuitous manner.
For example, research has revealed a connection between chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and chronic enterovirus infection of the stomach. In one particular study, over 80% of persons with chronic fatigue syndrome tested positive for enteroviral particles compared with only 20% in healthy persons. Enteroviruses include: herpes viruses, such as Epstein-Barr, human herpes virus type six (HHV-6) and herpes simplex virus types one and two, and the cytomegalovirus, as well as the Coxsackie virus and others. Other research has revealed a connection between chronic disease and bacterial infections such as Lyme disease and some sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia.
Chronic disease has also been associated with parasitic and fungal infections, such as chronic yeast infections. Exposure to certain toxins and chemicals has also been associated with chronic maladies. Interestingly, research has shown that women with endometriosis frequently suffer from autoimmune inflammatory diseases, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies and asthma. In one such study, chronic fatigue syndrome was one hundred times more common in women with endometriosis compared to healthy populations of women and fibromyalgia was twice as common. Genetic and other factors can also affect susceptibility to both infection and chronic disease.
The diverse etiology of chronic disease may account for the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment. Establishing infection-chronic disease connections is therefore vital to proper prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Many infectious agents are commonly transmitted and could be treated or prevented before they develop into chronic disease.
At Envita, we use extensive testing and diagnostic tools to identify a variety of infections that are largely overlooked or confused for other maladies. We have extensive experience with a range of infections and diseases and as a result, we often correct misdiagnoses for patients who have received treatment elsewhere and have shown little to no improvement. Envita’s Disease Solutions Program® uses the best of conventional and natural medicine to diagnose and treat a range of infections and diseases.
For more helpful information on Lyme and chronic disease, read the following featured articles:
Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, citing Tom Quinn of the laboratory of immunoregulation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Chia, John and Chia, Andrew. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is associated with chronic enterovirus infection of the stomach. Journal of Clinical Pathology. 2007;online Sep 13:1–6.
O’Connor, Siobhan, et al. Infectious etiologies of chronic diseases: Focus on Women. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Nov. 2004.
Sinaii, Ninet et al. High rates of autoimmune and endocrine disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and atopic diseases among women with endometriosis: a survey analysis. Hum Reprod. 2002; 17(10): 2715-2724.