When the immune system works properly, it attacks the germs, viruses, and bacteria infecting the body. But sometimes, it attacks healthy tissue instead, resulting in autoimmune disorders. So, what causes our immune system to attack our body cells? Well, there are several possible causes, including environmental issues and lifestyle choices.

Regardless of the triggers, several possible disorders could develop at some point. These include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Grave’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and hypo or hyperthyroidism. These affect your organs, joints, muscles, skin, or nervous system with varying symptoms. The treatments also differ, so speak with your doctor if you’re concerned you’ve developed one of these conditions.

Beautiful old lady holding doctors hand and getting speech disorder therapy

Autoimmune Disorders

Such issues aren’t rare, either, with over 80 disorders affecting the population. Autoimmune problems are also more common in women than men, and though treatable, they are often incurable.

Autoimmune diseases are common and range from mild issues to severe conditions. Though we often hear about the different types and effects of these diseases, we rarely know the problem’s source.

Possible causes of immune system attacks

Experts believe that these diseases are often genetic, though family members won’t always have the same condition. In fact, various conditions could affect those connected by blood. Of course, your genes aren’t the only contributing factor.

Regular stress and poor lifestyle choices are also a factor contributing to autoimmune disorders. Stress can both initiate and worsen autoimmune diseases. It does contribute to the increased level of cortisol, which is the main stress hormone, as well as to hormonal disbalance.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy, labor, and menopause may result in such disorders. Medical issues, including viruses or infections, are often linked to autoimmune problems. Studies also show removing the tonsils and other immune glands causes higher instances of reduced immune function.

Though these may be commonly associated with autoimmune disorders, other causes are possible. We’ll discuss a few of these recent discoveries in the following sections and let’s talk more about regular stress and poor habits.

Lifestyle choices and stress

According to a study, about 80% of patients have reported experiencing unusual emotional stress before their disease began. Researchers explain this as a feedback loop: stress not only leads to the development of the disease but the disease itself also causes considerable stress for patients.

Stress affects the brain in several ways, impacting both its structure and function. When worried or anxious, the brain releases stress hormones that affect the immune system and other functions. Those with chronic stress-related illnesses are more likely to develop at least one autoimmune disorder. Stress also worsens any existing conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Grave’s disease, hypothyroidism, and other autoimmune conditions, worsening immune function even more.

It’s also common knowledge that poor dietary choices pose significant health risks. The worse your diet, the higher your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. But food choices also affect your immune system, especially those high in trans fats, sodium, sugar, and other harmful additives. Unhealthy substances alter your digestive functions, triggering an immune response when one isn’t needed.

Environmental issues – UV radiation

Recent studies suggest exposure to environmental agents is linked to autoimmune disorders. These include tobacco use, pesticides, solvents, mercury, silica, and other harmful toxins. These substances alter the microorganisms in the digestive tract, preventing proper nutrient absorption. Such disruptions are connected to several autoimmune problems, including MS, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Our bodies absorb vitamin D from the sun, but there’s a downside to spending too much time outdoors. Experts believe UV radiation actually stops immune cells from traveling through the body to wherever they’re needed. Instead, they become trapped in the lymph nodes, allowing infection and other issues to run wild. Not only could this cause skin cancer, but autoimmune disorders also become more likely.

The environment plays a significant role in the development and exacerbation of autoimmune disorders. Environmental pollutants like pesticides, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals can disrupt immune function.


This content comprises informative and educational resources only and can not be considered as a substitute for professional health or medical guidance. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk. If you have any inquiries or apprehensions about your medical condition or health goals, talk with a licensed physician or healthcare provider.