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Comprehensive Report on the Global State of Autoimmune Diseases Released for National Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month

Thursday, March 4, 2010 Press Release J E 4
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WASHINGTON, March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A groundbreaking new report from the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), examining the current state of autoimmune disease (AD) and its economic and social impact globally and in the U.S., was released today at the National Autoimmune Diseases Summit: The Global State of Autoimmunity Today, held to kick-off National Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month.

Titled, "A Briefing Report on Autoimmune Disease and AARDA: Past, Present and Future," the comprehensive report presents an up-to-date assessment of all the most current data available on AD, including its incidence (frequency of disease development), prevalence (the number of people affected) and etiology (cause of AD). The report also outlines current and pipeline treatment therapies, trends in research funding and the impact of AD on the U.S. health care system.

This up-to-the-minute assessment is set against AARDA's own nearly 20-year history of raising awareness of autoimmunity as a category of diseases and a major U.S. health issue, and promoting a collaborative research effort in order to find better treatments and a cure for the more than 100 ADs.

"When AARDA was founded in 1992, there were roughly 67 known autoimmune diseases and another 20 strongly suspected of being autoimmune in nature. Yet, the term 'autoimmune' was unheard of and a virtual void existed in terms of any type of national focus or understanding that these diseases constituted a significant disease category," said Virginia T. Ladd, Executive Director, AARDA. "From the outset, AARDA's mission has been to fill that void and facilitate collaboration among national health agencies in the areas of autoimmune research, public education and patient services. This new briefing paper is the latest manifestation of our mission."

Autoimmune disease disproportionately affects women. Of the 50 million Americans living and coping with ADs, more than 75 percent are women. AD is one of the top 10 leading causes of death of women under the age of 65. It encompasses more than 100 diseases, including type-1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and lupus. It is responsible for more than $100 billion in direct health care costs annually.

Highlights from the first-of-its-kind report include:

Economic and Social Impact on U.S.

Incidence and Prevalence

Current Therapies and Future Pipeline

The Way Forward

Looking to the future of AD diagnosis, management and research, the report calls for:

About AARDA

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) is the nation's only non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity as a category of disease and a major women's health issue, and promoting a collaborative research effort in order to find better treatments and a cure for all autoimmune diseases. For more information, please visit www.aarda.org.

-- While the National Institutes of Health have estimated the annual direct health care costs of AD in the U.S. to be in the range of $100 billion, according to the new assessment, that estimate might be too conservative, given that estimated annual direct and indirect costs for seven of the major ADs (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and scleroderma) by themselves are $50 billion. -- Incidence and prevalence data for AD both in total and for individual diseases are either inconsistent or nonexistent. Thus, there is a significant need to improve prevalence and incidence data gathering and reporting. Several reports have indicated that autoimmune diseases collectively affect 5-10 percent of the developed world's population and are a significant cause of chronic illness and death.

SOURCE American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)
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