Diagnosis of autoimmune diseases rapidly rising

Autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and lupus, are being diagnosed at rapid rates, according to a press release.

From 2001 to 2009, the American Diabetes Associated found a 23% rise in type 1 diabetes, which stems from genetic and environmental factors and can cause cardiovascular damage as well as nerve damage, resulting in amputation. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine, is believed to affect one in every 133 US residents, according to a report from the US National Institutes of Health and the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.

“With the rapid increase in autoimmune disease, it clearly suggests that environmental factors are at play due to the significant increase in these diseases. Genes do not change in such a short period of time,” Virginia T. Ladd, RT, president and executive director of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, said in the release.

“The best way to combat the rise in autoimmune disease is to do research to understand the genetic and environmental risk factors for them, so that those who are at highest risk for developing disease after certain environmental exposures might be able to minimize those exposures and prevent the development of autoimmune disease,” Frederick Miller, MD, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said.

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