Autoimmunity is transformed from an esoteric scientific challenge by the daily reality of millions of patients. So we begin with a description of the impact of autoimmune disease on patients, their families, society and healthcare systems.

The depth of the challenges that underlie autoimmune diseases come through in painfully clear ways in the series of patient profiles starting on the next page.

As described by Stephen Pincock here ,"These conditions can affect any part of the body, often causing a spectrum of symptoms that make straightforward diagnosis a challenge." Autoimmune diseases often take years to diagnose. All the while, the patient suffers through escalating symptoms, and family and friends endure the struggle as well.

Stanley M. Finger, chairman of the board of directors for the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, concludes the section with a description of his family's battle with autoimmunity.

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