One of the myths about autoimmune disease is that it has little socioeconomic impact. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Autoimmune diseases as a whole afflict many people. In 2005, the National Institutes of Health estimated that as many as 24 million Americans have one or more autoimmune disease. This lies between the number of people with cancer (about 10 million) and cardiovascular diseases (about 31 million). Roughly one million new cases of autoimmune disease are diagnosed every year in the United States.

In addition to those demographics, these diseases inflict high medical costs on patients. In 2001, NIH estimated the costs for autoimmune-disease treatments at over $100 billion per year, which is comparable to cancer ($74 billion) and cardiovascular diseases (about $100 billion). The costs of treating autoimmune...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?