Sunday, October 5, 2008

Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome

A reader recently asked this very good question: 

"Is there a chance I might "acquire" another AI disease in the future?  Or will this be (mercifully) it  for me?"

There is a chance, but a relatively small one. As noted in the article below, only 25 percent of patients with AI have a tendency to develop another. (Important words: A tendency.) Read more in this article by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of King County:

Laurie Long
Jan 2008

Does having one autoimmune disease mean that you may be more susceptible to other autoimmune diseases?  The answer to that, according to studies, is yes.  About 25 percent of patients with autoimmune diseases have a tendency to develop additional autoimmune diseases.  Genetic, infectious, immunologic and psychological factors have all been implicated in the development of multiple autoimmune syndrome. (emphasis mine).

This article found on suite 101, defines the different subtypes of MAS: 

Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome can be classified into 3 subtypes, in which certain disorders frequently occur together; these classifications aid in diagnosis......Multiple autoimmune syndrome can be classified into three groups that correspond with the prevalence of their being associated with one another. In patients with two autoimmune diseases, this classification is helpful when signs of a third disorder emerge.

  1. Type 1 MAS includes myasthenia gravis, thymoma (tumor of the thymus gland), polymyositis (inflammatory muscle disease), and giant cell myocarditis (inflammatory heart muscle disease).
  2. Type 2 MAS includes Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, primary biliary cirrhosis, scleroderma, and autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, atrophic thyroiditis, Graves’ disease).
  3. Type 3 MAS groups together autoimmune thyroid disease, myasthenia gravis and/or thymoma, Sjogren’s syndrome, pernicious anemia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), Addison’s disease, insulin dependent diabetes, vitiligo, autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and dermatitis herpetiformis. For this group, the immune system marker HLA-B8 and/or DR3 or DR5 seems to be an important factor.


Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

Um, no thank you. I think one's plenty.


Anonymous said...

Now I know why I have so many. I'm in category one and two. Yikes! The Autoimmune Queen is a good name for me, then....