Allergic To Myself

A place for the autoimmune afflicted

Exposing: Autoimmune Statistics

From reading the comments on this blog, I was surprised by how many people didn’t know what an autoimmune disease is or how prevalent they are. So I decided to go and get this fact sheet from AARDA.ORG. Take a look!

Autoimmune Statistics

Autoimmune Disease…is a major health problem:
• The National Institutes of Health (NIH estimates up to 23.5 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease and that the prevalence is rising.
• Researchers have identified 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis. These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening.
• 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.
• A close genetic relationship exists among autoimmune disease, explaining clustering in individuals and families as well as a common pathway of disease.
• Commonly used immunosuppressant treatments lead to devastating long-term side effects.
• The Institute of Medicine reports that the US is behind other countries in research into immune system self recognition, the process involved in autoimmune disease.
• Understanding how to modulate immune system activity will benefit transplant recipients, cancer patients, AIDS patients and infectious disease patients.

…faces critical obstacles in diagnosis and treatment:
• Symptoms cross many specialties and can affect all body organs.
• Medical education provides minimal learning about autoimmune disease.
• Specialists are generally unaware of interrelationships among the different autoimmune diseases or advances in treatment outside their own specialty area.
• Initial symptoms are often intermittent and unspecific until the disease becomes acute.
• Research is generally disease-specific and limited in scope. More information-sharing and crossover among research projects on different autoimmune diseases is needed.

…offers surprising statistical comparisons with other disease groups:
• NIH estimates up to 23.5 million Americans have an AD. In comparison, cancer affects up to 9 million and heart disease up to 22 million.
• NIH estimates annual direct health care costs for AD to be in the range of $100 billion (source: NIH presentation by Dr. Fauci, NIAID). In comparison, cancers costs are $57 billion (source: NIH,ACS), and heart and stroke costs are $200 billion (source: NIH, AHA).
• NIH research funding for AD in 2003 came to $591 million. In comparison, cancer funding came to $6.1 billion; and heart and stroke, to $2.4 billion (source: NIH).
• The NIH Autoimmune Diseases Research Plan states; “Research discoveries of the last decade have made autoimmune research one of the most promising areas of new discovery.”
• According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, autoimmune disease and disorders ranked #1 in a top ten list of most popular health topics requested by callers to the National Women’s Health Information Center.

Hopefully this opened up your eyes on exactly the kind of problem Autoimmune diseases are and what they may become. They are becoming more common in our society along with obesity and many other problems. Could all of these things be related some how? What are your thoughts?

November 28, 2010 - Posted by | Autoimmune Disease


  1. Wow, I did not know autoimmune diseases were this prevalent in our society. I definitely think that a lot of these things are related, but it is hard to know exactly what is related and what is not related. Studies for chronic diseases like these are tough to understand exactly what caused the disease. Maybe we should just all try to be more healthy as much as we can. 🙂

    Comment by shalisametcalf | November 30, 2010 | Reply

  2. I too did not realize how prevalent autoimmune diseases were. They are scary becuase there is little we can do to prevent or cure them. I thought the possible link between obesity and autoimmune diseases was interesting. I’m not sure I believe that obesity causes autoimmune disorders but it makes me wonder if there is some other societal link between the two. Definitely something to look in to!

    Comment by stephaniesant11 | December 1, 2010 | Reply

  3. I had no idea so many people are affected by autoimmune diseases. Is the rise in numbers caused by something that we as a society are doing? Maybe our diet or something? Or could it be environmental?

    Comment by cmmz88 | December 1, 2010 | Reply

  4. There have been recent studies that Fibromyalgia may be an autoimmune disease. Many doctors disagree on the matter, but they’ve noticed that fibromyalgia patients have 2 antibodies not found in other people.

    Comment by spencerrichards | December 3, 2010 | Reply

  5. Like the others, I’m kind of astonished. Autoimmune disease information isn’t publicized the way cancer or heart disease is, so while I’d sort of heard vague references to autoimmune diseases in passing, and I know a few people who have MS, it doesn’t have a big presence in my life through the media.

    Comment by Stacey | December 3, 2010 | Reply

  6. I had no idea there are so many different auto immune disease’s. Are they more prevelant now or are we just learning what they are?

    Comment by Mary Ann Herbst | December 3, 2010 | Reply

  7. I didn’t know they were that common! I’m surprised that I don’t hear about them more often.

    Comment by allisonkatseanes | December 4, 2010 | Reply

  8. “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.” I had no idea that autoimmune diseases are so prevalent among women and more shockingly, female children. It is so sad that such debilitating diseases are befalling so many people.

    Comment by lromney | December 4, 2010 | Reply

  9. This was definitely a surprise. We hear so much more about cancer and yet there are double the amount of people suffering from autoimmune diseases. We can’t forget the quality of life and how it changes after diagnosis. The growing trent is interesting and I wonder if it could have anything to do with genetics or lifestyle.

    Comment by victoriamansfield | December 4, 2010 | Reply

  10. I think it’s a definite problem that not enough people are aware of diseases that are so prevalent in our society. When they keep up with their habits, whether it be through lifestyle like not exercising or over eating or something else. Somehow, we need to spread awareness about these diseases so that occurrence goes down and preventative measures go up.

    Comment by aayers08 | December 4, 2010 | Reply

  11. My friends mother died from MS a few years back. It was hard to understand, but now I’m learning a bit more about the disease.

    Comment by wmckenzi | December 4, 2010 | Reply

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