Several studies have focused on an isolated autoimmune disease, often with complex genetic components, which might run in families (known as familial aggregation). When the same autoimmune disease affects members of a family, it is referred to as familial autoimmune disease. An example of this would be two sisters who both have lupus, or perhaps a mother and daughter who both have RA.
In my own family’s case, several female members have different
autoimmune diseases, including RA, MS, lupus, scleroderma, and
diabetes. The aggregation of diverse autoimmune diseases that occur in a
family (known as familial autoimmunity) has not been studied as
extensively as familial aggregation. Recently, researchers in Bogota,
Colombia, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on the subject of familial autoimmunity, published in BMC Medicine (2013).
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Do Autoimmune Diseases Run in Families?