Behcet’s disease (BD) is a nasty inflammatory disorder that affects the vascular system (arteries and veins).
It leads to problems in all areas of the body that have mucosal membranes (especially the eyes, genitals and digestive tract). It can also cause neurological problems.
The exact cause, or aetiology of Behcet’s disease is still unknown, although as with many other inflammatory conditions several environmental causes, along with genetics, are implicated.
Behcet’s disease is characterized by an enhanced inflammatory response involving proinflammatory cytokines and heat shock protein.
Interestingly, bacterial heat shock protein may increase with H pylori infection and the bacteria also increase levels of proinflammatory cytokines. These changes in physiology are very similar to those seen in Behcet’s disease.
If you’ve read the information on this website as well as the content in my book and DVD, you’ll know that there are different strains of H pylori. Research seems to indicate that CagA strains of H pylori may be the most damaging.
Indeed, a study showed that CagA strains of H pylori bacteria were significantly higher in patients with Behcet’s disease, indicating that this strain of H pylori may be involved with the development of the disease.
Moreover, in this study, symptoms and clinical manifestations of Behcet’s disease improved significantly with H pylori eradication. Oral and genital ulcerations, arthritis and arthralgia all improved.
Unfortunately, further research in this area is limited,
As with all inflammatory diseases, H pylori is one of many possible triggers, causes or contributing factors.
Our modern lifestyle is basically a ‘pro-inflammatory’ one. Many of the foods we eat, the chemicals to which we are exposed and the stress we are under are all capable of triggering inflammatory responses similar to those seen in Behcet’s disease.
On top of this, H pylori is just one of countless potential infections that may trigger inflammatory responses in the body. Others include bacteria such as Campylobacter, Yersinia, Klebsiella, parasites like Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica and Blastocystis and yeast organisms like Candida albicans, Rhodotorula and Geotrichum.
Therefore if you have any inflammatory or autoimmune condition, you really have to consider ALL aspect of your diet, lifestyle and internal environment that could be leading to inflammation.
H Pylori & Behcet’s Disease References
Avci et al. Helicobacter pylori and Behcet’s disease. Dermatology 1999; 199: 140-3.