There is an epidemic of autoimmune diseases – and no one knows why.
In the last 50 years, the rates of autoimmune diseases have doubled to tripled, and year on year they continue to rise. The medical community isn’t sure why this is happening, and these diseases remain underfunded, under-researched, and poorly understood.
Few doctors have sufficient training to recognize and diagnose autoimmune illnesses, which can present very differently in different patients and at different stages. It takes the average autoimmune disease patient five years and six doctors before receiving the correct diagnosis. According to the Autoimmune Diseases Association, 45 percent of patients eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder are initially labelled as hypochondriacs. This lack of education and attitude of disbelief is dangerous — while patients remain undiagnosed, diseases progress and can cause permanent damage. Even once patients are diagnosed, there are few treatments available.
We need better medical education, greater awareness, and more funding for research and drug development for autoimmune diseases.
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