WASHINGTON, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) examining the economic impact of autoimmune disease (AD) on Americans, their families and the United States was released today at a congressional briefing as part of AARDA's 2011 National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month activities.
"The Cost Burden of Autoimmune Disease: The Latest Front in the War on Healthcare Spending," presents an assessment of current economic data available on AD, including patient out-of-pocket costs, patient job earnings and productivity losses and the impact on Social Security Disability and Medicare.
"Autoimmune diseases are, and will continue to be, a mounting public health concern for the foreseeable future," said Virginia Ladd, executive director, AARDA. "While it's difficult to determine exact costs of all 100-plus autoimmune diseases, it is clear that these chronic illnesses constitute a major component of U.S. health care spending, totaling perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs to individual patients, insurance companies and the federal government."
Ladd added the report offers solutions for easing the future burden, including:
- Streamlining the diagnosis process which right now can take years and numerous doctor visits.
- Creating a new medical specialist – the autoimmunologist.
- Coordinating and managing patient care through community-based autoimmune triage centers rather than costly hospital emergency room visits and extended hospital stays.
- Focusing and expanding federal research funding for autoimmune disease that leads to better diagnostic tools, new treatment options and perhaps one day a cure.
- Increasing awareness amongst the general public about autoimmunity and autoimmune disease so they can be better advocates for their own health and their loved ones.
Of the 50 million Americans coping with AD, more than 75 percent are women. AD is one of the top 10 leading causes of death of women under the age of 65. ADs include multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Grave's disease.
AARDA is the nation's only non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity as a category of disease and a major women's health issue, and promoting a collaborative research effort in order to find better treatments and a cure for all autoimmune diseases. To download the report, please visit www.aarda.org.
SOURCE American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)