The Puzzle of Autoimmunity

Dear Editor,

Puzzles seem to beg for solving, no more so than the puzzle of autoimmunity. Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, type 1 diabetes and many more are unfortunately common in the Pacific Northwest. In fact no state has a higher percentage count of autoimmunity patients than Washington.

With this puzzle, pieces include the influence of genes, triggers, family history and the state of one’s immune system. How can siblings receive the same genetic load with completely different outcomes; the sister with MS, the brother with Crohn’s and another brother with no apparent autoimmune issues at all?

How have we come to the 21st century with so little understanding of the origin of over 80 autoimmune conditions? Slowly increasing numbers of therapies are emerging but there remain no cures. Women and children get the brunt of this health dilemma. No part of the body or age group is immune. Research is underway in many parts of the world but definitive paths to eliminate developing autoimmune diseases are yet to be found.

North Central Washington has a high incidence of autoimmunity and better understanding of this complicated puzzle can lead to earlier and correct diagnosis; key to slowing and reducing tissue damage from the family of autoimmune diseases.

May 16 in Wenatchee at the Performing Arts Center, the first annual Living with Autoimmunity event will be presented for patients, family and support persons. This program is a joint effort of the Autoimmune Advocacy Alliance and the National MS Society; Greater NW Chapter. An overview of autoimmunity and insight from medical specialists will be included. A patient panel will offer their own stories and how they are coping.

Admission is free but registration is requested. To register visit www.a3autoimmunity/ or call the MS Society @1-800-344-4867

For questions of further information please call Judi Rising @ 509.630.5344

Judy Rising