Friday, June 10, 2011

In response to Frank on the Lupus- Pesticide connection

Tonight I received a new comment on an old blog post.  I started to comment back, but I thought that maybe my answer could get other people thinking, brainstorming.  This is a topic that fascinated me long before Juvenile Arthritis dropped into our lives.

Frank said...
I wanted to share this article with you. Lupus connection to pesticides.
What are your thoughts?

To sum up the article, the writer states that many people that have Lupus also had much more exposure to pesticides than their healthier neighbors.  Many of the affected were females that lived or worked on farms.  They write: 
The most affected group were women who lived on a farm and applied pesticides themselves for 20 years. They showed a three fold greater risk of developing lupus or rheumatoid arthritis as the women who did not apply any pesticides for 20 years.
The group of women who did not live on a farm but regularly applied pesticides for 20 years and the group of women who did not live on a farm and applied pesticides only six times a year had a two times greater risk of developing lupus or rheumatoid arthritis as the group who did not apply pesticides. “
I would never rule that out as a possibility for many affected people.  I think that many man made items and foods can cause more harm than good. 

I do think that much of it is genetic.  On our boards, we have had many discussions.  One thing that we have discussed is what other autoimmune issues we have in our families.  My family, for instance- I have Rosacea (which I’m now reading ISN’T an AI, but I am sure that I read before that it is) and thyroid issues (nothing severe).  My husband has thyroid issues, and had thyroid cancer.  He also recently got his first psoriasis patch.  (Our son has psoriasis, too.)  His father suffered from two types of cancer before passing.  His mother passed away from complications of diabetes.  She also had thyroid problems.  His brother is diabetic, and has psoriasis.  Their maternal side had diabetes and thyroid issues running rampant.  Their paternal grandmother has RA.  She is currently 93, and she was diagnosed at 19.  She said that she had symptoms for years before that, so she likely had JRA. 

My family is relatively autoimmune- free.  My mom won't go to a doctor so Lord only knows with her.  My paternal aunt is being tested for Lupus, and another aunt has had thyroid issues.  That's about it for us.
Reading through the posts on my JA & JM boards, many people that have children with autoimmune conditions have families that are riddled with autoimmune conditions.  Genetics has to play a rather large part.  I can't tell you if perhaps some environmental trigger can just set off an autoimmune reaction in people that are genetically predisposed, or if perhaps the trigger is far less important than the genetics.  We’ve come so far with all of the breakthroughs made for heart disease, strokes, cancer, etc, but when it comes to autoimmune diseases, we still can’t answer the question of which comes first.  This area is virtually unknown.  There are many autoimmune diseases, but for some reason many are not taken seriously.  The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc has a list of all autoimmune diseases. 

Vitiligo is autoimmune (white patches/ loss of pigment of the skin) as is Alopecia (hair loss).  There is autoimmune Alzheimer’s, Autism, Lyme Disease and hearing loss.  Psoriasis can produce not only the scaly, painful- looking dry skin patches, but it can also cause a different form of autoimmune arthritis- Psoriatic Arthritis.      

Many people are affected by these diseases.  Do they all have the same trigger?  Does each disease have a different trigger?  We need to find out.  These are very important questions, with life changing answers, but when will we find out these answers?  I’m going to do my best to gain awareness and try to help find the answers.  Maybe it does lie in pesticides.  That could certainly be a major reason since many foods are tainted.  But one day, I want to know.  Will you help?  Raise awareness.  Please.

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