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Autoimmune Disease FAQS - What Causes Autoimmunity?

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Updated December 18, 2003

Autoimmune Disease FAQS - What Causes Autoimmunity?

No one knows why the immune system treats some body parts like germs. We do know that you can't catch autoimmune diseases from another person.

Most scientists think that our genes and things in the environment are involved. If you have a certain gene or combination of genes, you may be at higher risk for autoimmune disease. But you won't get the disease until something around you turns on your immune system. This may include the sun, infections, drugs, or, in some women, pregnancy.

Autoimmunity FAQS

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Suggested Reading: Living Well With Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You... That You Need To Know by Mary J. Shomon

Adapted from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal
and Skin Diseases NIAMS/National Institutes of Health (NIH)
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675

NIH Publication No. 02-4858

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