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Misconceptions about Autoimmune Diseases Still Exist

Study Shows Misconceptions about Autoimmune Diseases Still Exist

Education focusing on autoimmune diseases must remain a priority to best raise awareness and positively impact patient lives.


Eastpointe, MI. (September 17, 2018) – While more than 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases, many misconceptions still exist in the space of autoimmune awareness. The American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA) recently partnered with Toluna Quicksurveys to conduct a survey on general awareness and perceptions.


The results show a lack of awareness in general knowledge, impact, and cause of autoimmune diseases. The research conducted by Toluna surveying software polled 584 respondents within the U.S. Respondents included a mix of both men and women from the ages of 18-65. This survey conducted on behalf of Autoimmune Association in September of 2018. According to the results, misconceptions included the following:


  • 41% of respondents do not understand the term “autoimmune disease.”
  • 40% of respondents believe autoimmune diseases are fatal as opposed to chronic.
  • 55% of respondents were not aware that 75% of autoimmune sufferers are women.
  • 80% of respondents were not aware that there are over 100 types of autoimmune diseases that exist.
  • 28% – or more than a quarter – of respondents either suffer from or have a family member with an autoimmune disease.


“Surveys such as this are important to guide the work we do to better inform and assist both individuals suffering from autoimmune diseases and those around them who often offer support. It is important to be well informed when looking for signs or treating autoimmune diseases and it’s nearly impossible to talk about this issue too much,” said Virginia T. Ladd, Autoimmune Association president and executive director. “When we see the staggering misconceptions that still exist, it further emphasizes the need to continue educating the general population so we can best impact lives.”


Autoimmune Association is a national health agency dedicated to the eradication of autoimmune diseases. Its mission is to aid in the alleviation of suffering and the socioeconomic impact of autoimmunity through fostering and facilitating collaboration in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services in an effective, ethical and efficient manner. Autoimmune Association offers conferences, seminars, national awareness campaigns, and publishes a comprehensive quarterly national newsletter, InFocus. This newsletter allows subscribers to stay current on autoimmune disease research, advocacy, and events.


Established in 1991 and headquartered in Eastpointe, MI, Autoimmune Association is a national nonprofit dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity as a category of disease and a major women’s health issue. Approximately 75 percent of autoimmune disease sufferers are women.


For more information:

Fern Senra-James, PR Counsel


[email protected]

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