Perhaps your mother and grandmother have arthritis, and you know you’re at a higher risk of developing the condition as well.
Or your father suffers from psoriasis, and therefore, you have been worried that you or your children will begin experiencing the symptoms of itchy and rash-prone skin sooner or later.
Although genetics certainly plays a part in the likelihood of developing an autoimmune condition, environmental factors are actually 70% at fault.
From what you eat to how you manage stress, there are a host of environmental triggers that can be to blame for developing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Graves disease, celiac disease, and more.
If you want to live a healthy life, it’s recommended to proactively adapt your lifestyle to minimize these factors.
Fortunately, the more you know what to watch for, the more you can avoid exposure to or engagement with such triggers.
Here are four common triggers of autoimmune disorders and conditions.
The death of a loved one. Experiencing a break-in at home. A car accident.
Often, sufferers of autoimmune disorders experience their first symptoms after going through a stressful life event.
In fact, “80% of people report uncommon emotional stress before disease onset.” (Source)
Experiencing daily stresses (such as running late for a meeting or having a disagreement with a friend) is unavoidable, and fortunately, as humans, we’re designed to learn to more or less handle these stresses.
However, as Healing is Freedom explains, “it’s the traumatic, chronic and repeated types of stress that have been scientifically linked to the onset and progression of autoimmune disorders.”
These more intense forms of stress have the ability to change our body chemistry, affecting our immune system in negative ways.
In order to avoid autoimmune flare-ups or symptoms, it’s important to strengthen your mind’s capacity to deal with these intense stressful situations.
Meditating, exercising, seeing a therapist, and proactively eliminating stressors can work in tandem to maintain a healthy level of stress, no matter what you may face.
#2: Gluten, Dairy, or Other Food Intolerances
Whether it be dairy or gluten, there are a range of foods that don’t sit well within the bodies of those predisposed to autoimmune conditions.
About 80% of our immune system is located in the lining of our guts–it’s no wonder there’s a connection to the food we eat!
Therefore, take the time to figure out which foods and dietary components (such as chemicals and preservatives) you may be intolerant of, and remove them from your diet.
Fortunately, there are a host of food blogs and recipes accessible via the internet that can help you eliminate the most problematic dietary culprits when it comes to autoimmune disorders–such as gluten, dairy, processed foods, sugar, and more.
Along with various scientific and social advances, a significant downside to the world we live in today is the heightened exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment.
In fact, the average American adult is saturated with 400 toxic chemicals, potentially more (source).
For example, mercury poisoning has been identified as a contributing factor in many cases of multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic fatigue syndrome, and others.
Additionally, workers who cleaned up the World Trade Center site after 9/11 developed conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis due to their exposure to chemicals such as silica, asbestos, dioxin, and lead.
From switching to BPA-free water bottles and minimizing prescription medications, there are various steps you can take to eliminate toxins from your lifestyle.
Bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal infections are some of the biggest underlying culprits behind autoimmune disease.
From chicken pox to infectious mononucleosis, these infections have been pinpointed as activators of conditions such as arthritis and lupus.
However, just because you have an infection, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be at a high risk of developing an autoimmune disease.
A genetic predisposition, along with exposure to the other environmental factors listed above, often encourages infections to activate such conditions.
Knowing that you’re genetically predisposed to autoimmune disorders can certainly be a cause for worry. However, taking proactive steps to eliminate or minimize the environmental factors listed above can provide you with peace of mind.
If you suspect you may be suffering from an autoimmune disease or disorder, click here to learn about 3 signs that could confirm your suspicions.