Supplement: Families in Crisis

Families in Crisis Stanley M. Finger The impact of an autoimmune disease is felt by more than just the patient. 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 a

Stanley M. Finger
May 1, 2007

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...

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