1. Autoimmune disease has grown to be a bigger problem than cancer and heart disease.
Collectively, autoimmune diseases are the most prevalent disease in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health or NIH, 23.5 million Americans have an autoimmune disease. In comparison, cancer affects up to 9 million and heart disease up to 22 million. 23.5 million is a very modest estimate of autoimmune disease sufferers when you consider that it is a grossly underdiagnosed disease. Considering this as well as the fact that the NIH only looked at 24 autoimmune diseases out of over 80, well-respected authorities such as the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association or AARDA, estimates that the number is more accurately near 50 million. That’s 1 in 5 people.
2. Despite the fact that autoimmune disease is an obviously growing epidemic, doubling in the last three decades, it is being kept a secret.
90 percent of Americans cannot name a single autoimmune disease. It is quietly growing into the sneakiest epidemic of medical history. It is a hidden crisis that must be brought to light not only for the people facing autoimmune diseases but for those who, according to the astounding growth in numbers, inevitably will also face it.
3. Doctor’s and researchers still don’t even understand the problem.
Forget about finding a cure because we haven’t even discovered what causes the problem yet. The idea that the immune system could actually attack its own body was not discovered until the 1950’s. As late as the 1980’s, medical school students were still being taught incorrect assumptions concerning immunology. Today, doctors are still scrambling to fully understand the problem.
4. It is one of the top 10 causes of death for women up to the age of 64 and female children.
The higher prevalence of autoimmune disease in females means that more are being destroyed by it. However, women’s health advocates still have not stepped up to meet the need of this brutal woman slayer.
5. The types of autoimmune diseases are multiplying as more are being identified.
In 1992, there were roughly 67 known autoimmune diseases and another 20 strongly suspected of being autoimmune in nature. There are now at least 80 and the number is growing and suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis.
6. Most autoimmune diseases are debilitating, some are life-threatening, and all require a lifetime of treatment.
Autoimmune disease is a chronic condition. There is no cure, only a lifetime of treatment minimizing symptoms.
7. The treatment for autoimmune diseases results in long-term debilitating effects.
The treatments used to minimize symptoms have awful, permanent side effects such as sudden and permanent blindness, suppressed immune systems, osteoporosis, decreased muscle function, high blood sugar, and more. People with autoimmune disease often get caught in a fatal downward spiral of illness and treatment which causes more illness that needs more treatment.
8. Women have an extremely high risk of autoimmune disease.
One in 12 women and one in 20 men in the U.S. will develop some sort of autoimmune disease in their lifetime, according to new estimates. Just by being born female you have a substantial risk of developing an autoimmune disease.
9. Autoimmunity has still not been embraced as a category of disease by the medical community.
While other diseases such as cancer have an umbrella-like covering of care like oncology, autoimmune disease has not seen a united front in health care. This means that patients with autoimmune disease have to see a variety of specialists and practically keep track of their own healthcare across multiple doctors who do not consult one another.
10. If you have one autoimmune disease you are at an increased risk for a second autoimmune disorder.
People with autoimmune diseases often develop secondary or multiple autoimmune diseases. Once the immune system is corrupted it has the potential to continue responding to its own body in multiple errors.
11. Autoimmune disease costs the health industry around 1 billion each year.
Chronic illness tallies up a huge tab in medical costs. The lifelong nature of autoimmune diseases makes it expensive to care for.
12. It is the 4th largest cause of disability among women in the United States.
Not all disabilities are visible. Autoimmune disease is an invisible illness because the sufferer does not always look outwardly sick. Yet autoimmune disease manages to rank startlingly high on causes of women’s disability.
“Hospital Centennial.” The Rockefeller University ». N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. http://centennial.rucares.org/index.php?page=Autoimmune_Diseases