About Autoimmune Disease, Advocate

12 Facts About Autoimmune Diseases That Will Make Your Hair Stand On End

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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.



E. C.Somers – S. L.Thomas – L. Smeeth – A. J.Hall – American Journal of Epidemiology – 2009
“National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.” Current Anthropology 10.2/3 (1969): 258-61. Web.
“Autoimmune Statistics – AARDA.” AARDA. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016.

“Hospital Centennial.” The Rockefeller University ». N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016.  http://centennial.rucares.org/index.php?page=Autoimmune_Diseases



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28 thoughts on “12 Facts About Autoimmune Diseases That Will Make Your Hair Stand On End”

  1. Reblogged this on The Sick and the Dating and commented:
    I have three autoimmune conditions and now that I have a diagnosis of Lyme, I understand that will probably trigger a huge autoimmune response episode. Discovery of etiology is not done; I hope that researchers and doctors are doing their best to identify the triggers and effectively treat patients.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m also the recipient of multiple Autoimmune diagnoses. The first was Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in 1989. Ulcerative Colitis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Vasculitis too, in subsequent years. I like to say I’m one big ‘itis.’ 😉 Relating how I came to the conclusion of what is contributing to or has possibly caused this epidemic is longer than my energy at present, so I’ll leave you with the conclusion: Radiation, as in contamination, since Three Mile Island in March, 1979, to Chernobyl, Fukushima (I’m saying no to CA dairy, wine, etc., as the West Coast didn’t only get debris on their shores, it’s now in their soil, water and anything grown in soil or that eats what’s grown there.) and other ‘small’ episodes when radioactive water or other means of contamination were leaked.


  3. For those of us who are not really familiar with autoimmune diseases, this article would have been more helpful if you jad named some of the diseases–RA is one of the few I know.


  4. I recently read an article about people with autoimmune disorders are also RF negative blood type…Alien DNA…so our bodies are attacking us because it doesn’t recognize the alien DNA…I don’t know but it makes a lot of sense to me…


    1. Autoimmune disorders all have been labeled as such because they attacking a very specific part of the body. This far no one has watched antibodies attack alien Dna under a microscope. We’ve seen intestines, joints, even RNA but no alien dna. Autoimmune disease is actually a very clear cut disease though there are many and they vary greatly in areas of attack and intensity. Best wishes.


  5. The treatment for autoimmune diseases results in long-term debilitating effects . . .Really?????
    I would love to know more about that aspect. As someone who is being treated, I am not seeing this at all.


    1. Steroids, immuno-suppressants, NSAIDs, pain control meds, and chemotherapy all result in long-term harmful effects. The debilitating effects of all of these treatments are very well known and researched. I’m not sure what treatment you’re on but I would absolutely take the time to research some of the long term effects that may occur or talk to a seasoned autoimmune veteran for tips on how they did dealing with their treatment over time. Many ad patients change meds quite often looking for relief but also looking for safer options. Each person and disease is unique though. Best wishes!


  6. First we need awareness and education—— then research . Please please help in getting funds for research and applying for trials . So little is known about auto immune and we have too few doctors going into neurology or study of AI…. I have 4 dx. so far — the most challenging one is myasthenia gravis. Its so so sad to read about children that get dx. with no cures or understanding about how to treat their conditions…… We sure can use your help. this is a great article for awareness.


  7. I’ve had RA for almost 20 years and it is NOT controlled. We start a new round of medicine in two weeks. A good friend of mine did a study recently and found that people with autoimmune disorders have a shockingly low rate of Vitamin D which you need to heal. I’m on one pill that is 50,000 IU of Vitamin D a week. I don.’t know if that’s the dosage for everyone, but at the least..it couldn’t hurt to have your doc draw a Vitamin D level when he/she draws other labs..and see if you are one of the many with this deficit. If you are, insist on a larger dosage than what you can get at the drugstore, good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I too have RA. My rheumatologist started me on plaquenil and I was allergic to it. My chiropractor suggested going gluten-free for pain control in my joints and that has made a huge difference! My joints hurt if I get exposed to Gluten now. And I don’t have to take more meds. My blood work with the rheumatologist has been great since being gluten-free. He has come to the “let’s wait and see” instead of medicine way of thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Auto Immunity HAS been handled around the world…the western doctors just don’t study it but naturopaths have and most of their focus is on your immune system and getting it boosted. America is the sickest continent in the world and if you only listen to what american doctors say you are going to stay sick because they have never studied the human body and how it interacts …treating symptoms will never cure the problems…God really DID give US everything to heal the body naturally. I had lupus 30 years ago…as soon as I stopped listening and taking meds from the traditional sources…I got it handled. My focus is always to boost my immune system and I can say I don’t recall any episodes of even a cold, sniffles or lack of energy once I got into the natural way to heal my body. Are any of you aware of your ORAC score or C-reactive protein levels? Get those in balance and your body becomes magical just as God intended. Get gluten out of your diet, get oils out of your diet, get sugar out of your diet (and I do not suggest any fake sugars replace it) and you will not only feel better but your body will thank you. Stop treating your car/house better than your own body…you LIVE in it…stop ignoring it’s cries out to you. You may not have answers…but plenty of others DO and have studied for decades to bring the answers to you.


    1. I really appreciate what you said. In fact, most of the large autoimmune community that I know has drastically changed their diet and added nutritional and herbal supplements to help them. Unfortunately, we can’t assume that everyone’s body is going to react the same, even when you responded wonderfully. I whole-heartily agree with what you said. I follow a nutrition based whole foods diet that eliminates oils, sugar, sugar substitutes, gluten, and soy, stay away from immuno-suppressants while working to boost my immune system, use only natural products, and am deeply knowledgable about herbal remedies. However, there are still times I am sick. We can’t condemn or shame people for being sick because we assume they are not taking measures to be healthy. Just because they are ill does not automatically mean that they have an unhealthy lifestyle. Autoimmune disease statistics are rising world wide. It has not been “handled” nor is it specifically an American problem. This is another assumption and generalization. I am so glad for your health but do not assume the answer for you is an answer for all. There are over 140 different autoimmune diseases and each case is unique. It is like suggesting that because one person can recover from cancer they all can. Again, I’m so happy for you that you have recovered but I also know that many others have been on the very same path as you and are still waiting for their healing. We should not cast disparagement or judgement on them for not having your recovery. Best wishes.


      1. I’m glad we’re on the same page, Nikole. I agree, when it comes to health we cannot assume anything as our bodies respond differently and I’m thrillled to read how proactive you are. I’m interested in hearing the herbal remedies you have found that help and in which instances?

        As I re-read what I wrote…it sounded kind of preachy and I didn’t mean it that way…I just realize there are SO many answers and I didn’t give up until I found mine because the path felt so right and if the stats are rising there IS a reason and I know if we are pro-active we can all avoid it.

        My biggest health break-through was when I SAW the vision of being Vibrantly Healthy and believed the vision and stayed focused on it. I do believe God has put everything here to overcome any battle we may face and allows us to choose between flourishing or suffering.
        One of the laws of our universe is what WE focus on Expands.

        I wish for all abundant health and joyful lives.


      2. I was just whipping up a batch of the herbal tea I drink everyday today and thinking, “I should share this!” So look for some herbal info coming soon! Again, I’m so glad you’re doing well and share the same healthy vision. Best wishes!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi there!

    Think this is a fab post (that I have reblogged), and will be following your blog!

    I have just recently (last week) started a blog to start raising awareness about AI, I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis earlier this year, and when I first started researching, these were some of the facts I came across and I couldn’t believe how many people are affected by autoimmune illnesses, but yet so many people know so little about them, me included before diagnosis!

    I look forward to reading some of your other posts!

    M x


  11. I am obviously male and have Sjogren’s Syndrome…only 1 in 9 people who get it are male. I have also read that if a parent has it, then you only a 3% chance of getting it also. My Dad also has Sjogren’s so I guess I have been very unlucky to get it also. My next appointment is in 54 weeks (great Irish Healthcare System!), so I have decided to do a Juice Fast to try and tackle the inflammation. I am also blogging my progress.

    Thanks for creating this post and building more awareness of the disease…


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