March is National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month so I would like to help spread a little awareness on this often misunderstood and under-recognized epidemic.
Do you know your AQ? AQ is a play on IQ and stands for Autoimmune Quotient. It’s about knowing how likely you or a loved one is to develop an autoimmune disease based on the prevalence of these diseases and your family history (click here to learn more).
I happen to have 5 autoimmune diseases: celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, Graves’ disease AND Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (yes, it’s possible to have both! Mary Shoman wrote an article on this topic on About.com and you can read that here) and lastly, I have psoriasis but thankfully, it has been in remission for 20 years.
As you can probably imagine, I’m deeply concerned about developing more autoimmune conditions and this is why I have been very aggressive over the past couple of months about healing my intestinal barrier with the help of Dr. Vikki Petersen and her wonderful team at HealthNOW Medical Center. I admit that at one point I wasn’t 100% sure that I was going down the right path in this approach (because if it were true, then why wouldn’t my gastroenterologist have told me all this information?), but all doubts were quickly erased after I read the following article by Alessio Fasano, MD, Medical Director, Center for Celiac Research at The University of Maryland:
“Zonulin and Its Regulation of Intestinal Barrier Function: The Biological Door to Inflammation, Autoimmunity and Cancer.” Physiological Reviews, January 2011
If you or a loved one has any autoimmune disease (even if it doesn’t include celiac disease), I really cannot encourage you enough to download the above article, print it, read it and share it.
During National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month, the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association is asking supporters to take notice of the 50 million of our friends, family, and co-workers who suffer every day with one or more of the 100+ autoimmune diseases and introduce you to the “We are 50 Million” campaign.
“We are 50 Million” will spotlight autoimmune patient stories from around the country answering the question, “How Many of the 50 Million Does Your Family Represent?” The answers to this question highlight important facts about autoimmune diseases which everyone should be aware of. Supporters of this mission are also encouraged to text A-A-R-D-A to 20222 to donate $5 for the benefit of AARDA research by the Mobile Giving Foundation in order to help future research.
Here are some facts we should be discussing with our loved ones:
- 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease comprising a major U.S. health crisis
- There are 100+ autoimmune diseases, celiac as we know being one of them. Other diseases include: lupus, Crohn’s disease, Addison’s disease, vasculitis, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and ulcerative colitis.
- Autoimmune diseases tend to “cluster” in families, for example, if your grandmother had rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or lupus, you could be at greater risk for developing an autoimmune disease.
- Less than 13 percent of American’s can name an autoimmune disease and yet it ranks as deadly as Cancer and Heart Disease.
- Autoimmune diseases target women 75 percent more often than men and they are one of the top ten killers of women under the age of 64.
You can also visit http://www.westglen.com/online/18812.html to watch a special announcement from AARDA.
Do autoimmune diseases run in your family?
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