Autoimmunity 101

Awareness + Connection + Funding + Research = Cure

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Term "autoimmune disease" refers to a varied group of more than 80 serious, chronic illnesses that
involve almost every human organ system. In all of these diseases, the underlying problem is similar---the body attacks and destroys its own healthy
organs and systems instead of protecting them.

What Causes Autoimmunity?

Autoimmune disease remain among the most poorly understood and poorly recognized of any category of illnesses. No one knows the exact cause of autoImmune diseases. However, research scientist believe it may be linked to a person's genetics or environmental factors. Individual diseases range from the benign to the severe. Symptoms vary widely, notably from one illness to another, but even within the same disease.

Is It Contagious?

AutoImmune Diseases are not contagious. The disease may have fare-ups, when they get worse, and remissions, when the disease all but disappears.

Is There A Cure?

AutoImmune Diseases do not go away, but symptoms can be treated and succcessfully managed, if diagnosed early. There is no cure YET!

Points To Remember

* Autoimmune disease is the eighth leading cause of death for women age
15 to 84

* Autoimmune diseases are the third most common major illness in the U.S. after cancer and heart disease!

* Women are 2.7 times more likely than men to acquire an autoimmune disease.

* Women have enhanced immune sytstems compared to men, which increases their resistance to many types of infection-- but also makes them more susceptible to autoimmune diseases.

MWAID recognizes autoimmunity as a "category" of disease and supports the mission of American AutoImmunity Related Disease Association--AARDA

As one of the nation’s organization dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity as a category of disease and a major women’s health issue, AARDA is working hard on several fronts to raise awareness, including:

1. Recognizing autoimmunity as a “category” of disease. If the public and medical practitioners were more aware of the genetic predisposition to develop autoimmune disease(AD), clearly there would be more emphasis on taking a medical history regarding autoimmune diseases within the family when presented by a patient with confusing symptoms. Young women, especially, are often not taken seriously when they first begin consulting their doctors for their vague symptoms and are often shunted from specialist to specialist.

2. Increasing public education about autoimmunity and autoimmune disease. Every five years, AARDA conducts a national public opinion poll gauging Americans awareness of AD. The latest survey (2013) indicates greater awareness is still sorely needed. The good news is that over the last decade, Americans’ ability to name and 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.


Sjogren's Syndrome*Systemic Lupus E* Multiple Sclerosis
Rheumatoid Arthritis* Grave's Disease
Type I. Diabetes *Hashimoto's Thyroiditis*Scleroderma*Vitiligo*Crohne's

Autoimmune Disease May Affect Major Organ Systems:

  • Blood and blood vessels
  • Digestive tract (including mouth)
  • Eyes
  • Glands
  • Heart
  • Joints
  • Lungs
  • Skin
  • Nerves and Brain
  • Muscles
  • Kidneys

"Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in AWARENESS"
-- James Thurber