Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month is celebrated annually during the month of March!
There are millions of people worldwide who are living with one or more autoimmune diseases. For the majority of these individuals, the toll of having a chronic condition reaches far beyond their physical health. The struggle of living with an autoimmune disease can manifest in nearly every aspect of daily life. That’s why we launched a month-long social media event to share important facts, discuss lived experiences, and speak out about the impact of autoimmune disease.
There are 80-100 known autoimmune diseases. Most of the individuals surveyed on day two of our awareness event had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren’s, celiac disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis were all slightly more common among survey participants, with several people reporting that they have an undiagnosed autoimmune disease.
These results do not necessarily reflect universal autoimmune disease prevalence, but they do provide an interesting representation of our Instagram community.
Many people spend years waiting to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. The majority of people who answered our poll waited 3 years for a diagnosis from the onset of their illness. Several more waited between 6 months and 4 years, with the longest reported delay being 38 years.
Autoimmune disease looks different on everyone, but common experiences unite this community. That’s why we asked our Instagram friends to share their experiences with us. The responses were candid, insightful, and inspiring. Here are a few of the things that participants shared with us:
When it comes to autoimmune disease, solutions take time and extraordinary dedication. Researchers, advocacy groups, spoonies, caregivers, and foundations are just a few parts of the movement to promote education, research, and improvements in diagnosis and treatment. A collective goal of the autoimmune disease community is to help others feel supported and seen. No matter where you are on your chronic illness journey, your voice counts! You can help keep the momentum for autoimmune disease awareness going all year long. Here are some tips for raising awareness: