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M Eileen LaGrotta
WELCOME to my CaringBridge page. Rick and I created these pages to keep family and friends updated about my ongoing fight with autoimmune diseases and their side effects and consequences.
"Researchers have identified 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis. These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening". (SEE MORE INFORMATION FROM AARDA BELOW)
Of these 100+ diseases, I have been diagnosed with: Raynaud's Phenomenon, Lupus, Mixed-Connective-Tissue-Disease, Sjogren's Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Optic Nerve Autoimmune Retinopathy, Retinal Autoimmune Retinopathy and consequently restless arm and leg syndrome, Achalasia and kidney and heart issues.
This interruption in my life begins on the journal page from June 17, 2006. While you are here, read my latest journal entries, view the photo gallery or drop me a line in the guestbook (I think now called "Well Wishes").
THANK YOU for taking the time out of your busy lives to check on me. I appreciate your prayers, care and concern.
AUTOIMMUNE FACT SHEET from AARDA Autoimmune Disease…is a major health problem. • The National Institutes of Health (NIH estimates up to 23.5* million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease and that the prevalence is rising. We at AARDA say that 50 million* Americans suffer from autoimmune disease. Why the difference? The NIH numbers only include 24 diseases for which good epidemiology studies were available. • Researchers have identified 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis. These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening. • Autoimmune disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women in all age groups up to 64 years of age. • A close genetic relationship exists among autoimmune disease, explaining clustering in individuals and families as well as a common pathway of disease. • Commonly used immunosuppressant treatments lead to devastating long-term side effects. • The Institute of Medicine reports that the US is behind other countries in research into immune system self recognition, the process involved in autoimmune disease. • Understanding how to modulate immune system activity will benefit transplant recipients, cancer patients, AIDS patients and infectious disease patients.
…faces critical obstacles in diagnosis and treatment. • Symptoms cross many specialties and can affect all body organs. • Medical education provides minimal learning about autoimmune disease. • Specialists are generally unaware of interrelationships among the different autoimmune diseases or advances in treatment outside their own specialty area. • Initial symptoms are often intermittent and unspecific until the disease becomes acute. • Research is generally disease-specific and limited in scope. More information-sharing and crossover among research projects on different autoimmune diseases is needed.
…offers surprising statistical comparisons with other disease groups. • NIH estimates up to 23.5 million Americans* have an AD. In comparison, cancer affects up to 9 million and heart disease up to 22 million. • NIH estimates annual direct health care costs for AD to be in the range of $100 billion (source: NIH presentation by Dr. Fauci, NIAID). In comparison, cancers costs are $57 billion (source: NIH,ACS), and heart and stroke costs are $200 billion (source: NIH, AHA). • NIH research funding for AD in 2003 came to $591 million. In comparison, cancer funding came to $6.1 billion; and heart and stroke, to $2.4 billion (source: NIH). • The NIH Autoimmune Diseases Research Plan states; “Research discoveries of the last decade have made autoimmune research one of the most promising areas of new discovery.” • According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, autoimmune disease and disorders ranked #1 in a top ten list of most popular health topics requested by callers to the National Women’s Health Information Center.
* We at AARDA say that 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease. Why the difference? The NIH numbers only include 24 diseases for which good epidemiology studies were available.