This is an entirely theoretical question, so all you scientists....
I've always wondered what if any relationship there is between "autoimmune" and "immune system". The reason I wondered is that all my life I have had an unusually strong immune system. I road in a van with all the other kids who one by one got the classic childhood diseases and I never got any of them! I rarely get the flu or a cold. (I'm usually quite indignant when I do!). And I am part of the 10-15% of the population who "spontaneously cleared" the HepC virus. (I have the antibodies for HepC, but no detectable virus) Then in my 40s I got my first autoimmune disorder - Graves Disease (hyperthyroidism) and in my 50s my second, Type 1 Diabetes. I know that people with one autoimmune condition are susceptible to getting other ones.
So does this mean that my immune system works so hard at fighting off disease, that it also mistakenly attacks itself (the autoimmune response)? Just curious - wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience or knows anything about a connection between the two things.
I find this area fascinating. I have 2 autoimmune disorders myself, hashimotos and Type 1. I am not sure what provoked either disorder, but I developed symptoms of diabetes right around my diagnosis for hashimoto's. I actually incorrectly thought that my hypothyroidism/synthroid were causing them at first.
I've also read that thyroid disorders and type 1 diabetes have a genetic connection with certain psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. If only medicine could keep the body from attacking itself! So many people could benefit!
I've seen a high correlation between thyroid disorders and some forms of mental illness, but more the mood disorders such as Depression and some Anxiety Disorders, not particularly Schizophrenia. In the past, people were commonly diagnosed with one of those illnesses and it was later found to resolve once the thyroid was dealt with. Thyroid affects many many things including mood (more likely anxiety if you are hyperthyroid and depression if you are hypo). Now, it's common to suggest people reporting those symptoms have their thyroid tested.Since coming on this board, I've noticed a higher degree of people self-reporting as suffering from Bipolar, Depression and Anxiety disorders but I think Depression, in general is twice as common in the Diabetic community due, not so much to biology as to the difficulty of managing this disease.
I meant more like people with schizophrenia are more likely than someone from the general population to have a first degree relative with thyroid disease/diabetes, suggesting that they are from similar genes. just for some reason or another, one family member's brain was targeted and the other's endocrine glands were.
But I do agree, depression and diabetes are so intertwined that it is unclear as to which came first or if diabetes leads to depression. The important thing here is that health care providers know to ask the tough questions to screen everyone with diabetes for depression so they can get help!
I'm not aware of any genetic link between schizophrenia and thyroid or diabetes, though the genetic aspects of mental illness is not my area of expertise!
I do agree with you very much that the psychological aspects of D are really not paid much attention! I don't have a lot of hope that endos let alone PCP's are qualified or have the time to assess for depression. But they can certainly ask a few key questions and make a referral for further assessment!
I'm enjoying it too, Judith! Just something I've had in the back of my head and thought I'd throw out!
I would like to add that T1 diabetics should watch for these additional autoimmune conditions:
-thyroid: hashimoto, graves disease - can lead to slower or faster metabolism and can cause problems in glucose control
-digestion: coeliac disease - can lead to malnutrition in amino acids and vitamins. Can cause depression, nerve damages and problems in glucose control
-adrenal gland: addison's disease - can lead to weakness
-skin: lichen sclerosus, lichen ruber, vitiligo - psychic side effects
-brain: myasthenia gravis - can lead to muscle weakness
Zoe, I find this post fascinating because you described my experience. I was previously the healthiest person going. I never got colds and I can honestly say I've never had the flu in my life. I even had doctors say "you have a great immune" system when I step on a nail or cut myself or something and let it go without attention for days on end. Then BOOM in my 40s autoimmune attack -- Hashimotos Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, Frozen Shoulder and my guess is it's not over. Talk about being your own worst enemy!
Wow, really similar, Donna! And I am noticing that like I was musing, most of the people responding to say they have had similar experiences were people diagnosed later in life, so they had decades of a "super hard working immune system" before the autoimmune attacks.
Don't say, "my guess is it's not over!" I always say "I never get sick, I just get conditions" and I have enough, thank you! (Type 1, Graves, acid reflux, arrhythmia, arthritis)