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Auto Inflammatory Diseases Are Rare
when it affects less than 1 in 2000.
a disease or disorder is defined as rare in the usa if it affects fewer than 200,000 americans at any given time.
One rare disease may affect only a handful of patients in the EU, and another touch as many as 245,000. In the European Union, as many as 30 million people alone may be affected by one of the 6000 to 8000 rare diseases existing. 80% of rare diseases have identified genetic origins whilst others are the result of infections (bacterial or viral), allergies and environmental causes, or are degenerative and proliferative. 50% of rare diseases touch children.
Characteristics of rare diseases
The 6000 to 8000 rare diseases are characterised by a broad diversity of disorders and symptoms that vary not only from disease to disease but also from patient to patient suffering from the same disease. Relatively common symptoms can hide underlying rare diseases leading to misdiagnosis and delaying treatment. Quintessentially disabling, the patients quality of life is affected by the lack or loss of autonomy due to the chronic, progressive, degenerative, and frequently life-threatening aspects of the disease. The fact that there are often no existing effective cures adds to the high level of pain and suffering endured by patients and their families.
Common problems faced
As aforementioned, due to the broad diversity of disorders and relatively common symptoms which can hide underlying rare diseases, initial misdiagnosis is common. In addition symptoms differ not only from disease to disease, but also from patient to patient suffering from the same disease. The lack of scientific knowledge and quality information on the disease often results in a delay in diagnosis. Also the need for appropriate quality healthcare engenders inequities and difficulties in access to treatment and care concluding in heavy social consequences for patients.
How can things change?
Although rare disease patients and their families face many challenges enormous progress is being made every day. The ongoing implementation of a better comprehensive approach to rare diseases has led to the development of appropriate public health policies. Important gains continue to be made with the increase of international cooperation in the field of clinical and scientific research as well as the sharing of scientific knowledge about all rare diseases, not only the most “recurrent” ones. Both of these advances have led to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. However, the road ahead is long with much progress to be made.
rare disease day is an annual, awareness-raising event co-ordinated by eurordis at the international level and national alliances of patient organisations at the national level
February 28th 2011 will mark the fourth International Rare Disease Day coordinated by EURORDIS and organised with rare disease national alliances in 25 countries. On that day hundreds of patient organisations from more than 40 countries worldwide will be organising awareness-raising activities and converging around the slogan “Rare but Equal”.
Hundreds of patient groups and their partners, coordinated by national alliances at the country level, are planning a multitude of events to draw attention to rare diseases and the millions of people who are affected by them. Awareness-raising activities are being planned across Europe, all the way to Russia, Georgia and Armenia, as well as in the US, Canada and as far as Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan!