The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. (AARDA) estimates Americans with autoimmune disease (AD) is closer to 50 million rather than the 23.5 million stated by the National Institute of Health (NIH). The difference being NIH includes 24 of the 80-100 diseases the AARDA recognizes with yet another 40 suspected. In fact, “Autoimmune disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women in all age groups up to 64 years of age.” (AARDA)
The medical professional has traditionally given limited education on autoimmune disease for physicians, making it difficult for patients to receive accurate diagnosis until their AD progresses into an acute stage. Specialists often do not crossover from their speciality to another when treating patients with multiple ADs. Research is also limited to one specific disease at a time rather than seeing the whole picture of autoimmune disease.
With funding from the National Institute of Health at less then $600 million in 2003 for all ADs, the NIH states, “Research discoveries of the last decade have made autoimmune research one of the most promising areas of new discovery.” Autoimmune disease is the second leading cause of chronic illness and yet receives only 3% of the NIH research budget. Educating the public on AD and family connection is critical to accurate and early diagnosis. Patient understanding of their disease leads to greater adherence to treatment plans.
To learn more about the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, Inc. visit www.aarda.org or call 800-598-4668 for specific information or referrals.