AARDA Applauds the New Yorker’s Meghan O’Rourke for Indepth Article on Autoimmunity
Source Newsroom: American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)
Newswise — The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) congratulates The New Yorker magazine and its contributing writer Meghan O’Rourke for her first-person account of the daily struggle living with autoimmune disease (AD) and showcasing autoimmunity as a major U.S. health issue.
“Will I Ever Get Better? Meghan O’Rourke on the Autoimmune Epidemic” is featured in the August 26, 2013 issue of The New Yorker.
“Given the cold, hard facts we at AARDA know about the pervasiveness of autoimmune disease – 50 million Americans are afflicted, more than 100 diseases, one of the top 10 leading causes of death of women under 65 and responsible for more than $100 billion dollars in direct health care costs – Ms. O’Rourke’s personal story eloquently captures the frustration, anxiety and confusion of first getting an autoimmune diagnosis and then the realities of living on a daily basis with a chronic illness with no cure and few treatment options,” said Virginia Ladd, executive director, AARDA.
Unfortunately, according to Ladd, O’Rourke’s experience is a familiar one for many autoimmune disease patients. The article highlights one of AARDA’s main priorities which is to establish diagnostic, treatment and research autoimmune centers, like the one currently in Israel, where a single doctor would coordinate and oversee a patient’s care, similar to a cancer center.
“One of AARDA’s other major challenges is educating Americans about recognizing autoimmunity as a major disease category, like cancer or heart disease, so we are truly grateful to The New Yorker for giving autoimmune disease such a prominent national forum.”
AARDA’s latest national public opinion poll, which provides benchmarks every five years, indicates greater awareness is still sorely needed.
This newest survey, conducted by GfK Roper, reveals good and bad news. The good news is that over the last decade, Americans’ ability to name an AD has jumped by nearly 10 percent. The bad news, though, is that overall less than one in five Americans -- or 15 percent -- can name an AD. In addition, for the first time, the survey asked respondents if they know anyone with an AD and few, only 17 percent, said yes.
“Yet almost everyone knows someone with an autoimmune disease, they just don’t know the disease is autoimmune,” said Ladd. “This creates a major problem for early diagnosis as these diseases run in families, often manifesting as different autoimmune diseases. Patients don’t understand the connection between them so they fail to share their family history of autoimmune diseases with their physicians.”
About Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune disease (AD) 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 psoriasis, Graves’ disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and lupus. It is responsible for more than $100 billion in direct health care costs annually.
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.
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