Stop neglecting autoimmune disease sufferers now!

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I distinctly remember the day I found out I had lupus in June 2018. I was assuring my parents (and myself) that my low hemoglobin level was simply due to a lack of iron in my diet and my joint pain could be explained by my recent overuse of my joints.

I was prepared to receive meds to control whatever short term sickness I thought I had, instead, I got diagnosed with a chronic illness with no cure. I forced myself to hold back tears wondering what I did wrong to end up in this situation. I felt so helpless. 

But looking at me now, you would never guess that I’ve been struggling with lupus. The only noticeable change to my body is that my face is chubbier - a side effect of the steroid medication I'm taking. However, I’ve had people tell me that it's a sign that I’m eating well...I wish. Lupus, like many other autoimmune diseases is silent. But its impact is not. 

The figures are staggering, 30 years ago, 1 in 400 people developed an autoimmune disease, today, that number is 1 in 12.    

In the US, the number of people suffering from an autoimmune disease has already surpassed that of cancer and heart disease. Yet the NIH's $965 million budget for autoimmune diseases is only a fraction the $6.6 billion dedicated to cancer and $1.4 billion allocated for heart disease.  

And while incidence rates of the latter are decreasing, doctors are still struggling to pinpoint why autoimmune disease diagnoses are increasing at such drastic rates.  

So I was extremely shocked to find out that the World Health Organization hasn't even acknowledged autoimmune diseases.

A main portion of the WHO's website is dedicated to 315+ health topics including cancer, cardiovascular diseases and mental health. Yet autoimmune diseases are not even mentioned once. This feels like a big slap in the face. 

Please sign this petition to urge the World Health Organization to: 

  1. Make autoimmune diseases a health topic on www.who.int

If autoimmune diseases are a health topic, it means they can receive the same treatment as other health topics. That means the WHO will state key facts, causes, impacts, and most importantly their response (how they're going to support efforts to decrease autoimmune disease incidence rates and help improve care for current patients)

Please sign this petition to urge the World Health Organization to take action on autoimmune diseases.

Sources:

https://www.aarda.org/

https://www.ima.org.il/FilesUpload/IMAJ/0/183/91562.pdf 

https://www.binghammemorial.org/Health-News/how-do-people-develop-autoimmune-diseases 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3682614/

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/annual-report-nation-overall-cancer-mortality-continues-decline