Canadians with Celiac disease may benefit from learning more about the American Autoimmune & Related Diseases Association (AARDA). AARDA is the only national nonprofit health agency dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity. It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease(s.)
Autoimmune disease (AD) is a varied group of illnesses that involve every human organ system. It includes diseases of the nervous, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems, as well as skin and other connective tissues, eyes, blood and blood vessels. In all of these ADs, the underlying problem is “autoimmunity” — the body’s immune system becomes misdirected and attacks the very organs it was designed to protect.
A Major Women’s Health Issue
• ADs strike women three times more than men
• some diseases have an even higher incidence in women:
• Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis 10:1
• Lupus 9:1
• Sjogren’s Syndrome 9:1
• Secondary Antiphospholipid Syndrome 9:1
• Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 9:1
• There are over 100 different autoimmune diseases, and the prevalence is rising.
• See List of Diseases
• One in five Americans or 20 percent of the population has an AD.
• AD is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in women under the age of 65.
• AD runs in families
A Family of Diseases
As you all prepare for the holiday season, remember that family get-togethers are perfect times for gathering family health data from the elders and others. You, as the gatherer, may unearth just the specific key needed for the family member with vague symptoms and no diagnosis. Remember to share the data that you have collected with family members who you will see over the holidays. Share these facts with your families and friends.
Share these facts during your holiday gathering: despite the fact that 50 million Americans are living and coping with an autoimmune disease, it is still poorly recognized as a category of illness. According to a recent AARDA survey, patients visit on average, 5 doctors over 3 1/2 years to receive a proper diagnosis. This is good news, as the time to diagnosis has been shortened, however, the time for an accurate diagnosis still needs to be reduced.