Friday, August 10, 2012

Autoimmune Disease & Women: Making the Connections....AARDA Conference Topic Two


As promised, here's another post sharing some of the excellent information presented at the AARD/Arthritis Foundation/OHSU conference on autoimmunity.

Presenter Rita Baron-Faust, MPH, CHES focused on the relationship between autoimmune disease and women.




She's the co-author of The Autoimmune Connection, a book that I keep close at hand. Notice that its tucked right next to my Bats Sing, Mice Giggle book, The Sjogren's Book, and The Kitten Who Thought He Was A Mouse book. All excellent. Every one. Although I can't recall why I put The Memory Bible in there.....

No, I didn't steal the book from the library. I BOUGHT it from a library. And not because it was way overdue, either.....

Ms. Baron-Faust began with this slide which was similar to many shown that day:


Which reinforced the fact that many autoimmune diseases patients are women. Yes, indeed. Many, many of them. Notice that the ratio of women to men in Sjogren's syndrome is 9:1. Ms. Baron-Faust then went on to discuss several autoimmune diseases and their implications for the women that deal with them. I thought this information was particularly interesting:


See the $50,000+ price tag for a correct diagnosis? Imagine how much blood, sweat, tears, and money we all would save (including the health care system) if our health care providers were adequately educated about autoimmune disease.

It was also interesting to see that many of these autoimmune diseases tend to cluster with other autoimmune diseases. I have posted just a few here:

Rheumatoid Arthritis:


RA and women:


Multiple Sclerosis:


MS and women:


Sjogren's syndrome clusters:


VERY interesting. My disease cluster includes Ss, lupus, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. I'm thinking that I really don't want to add any more to my collection. Seriously.

Sjogren's syndrome and women:


In addition to the information on this slide, she also discussed the specific issues associated with pregnancy and Sjogren's syndrome, one being the increased risk of neonatal lupus in the fetus, the other the increased risk of antiphospholipid syndrome which may cause blood clots to form in the placenta, causing significant issues including miscarriage. These problems also occur in patients with systemic lupus.

Sjogren's syndrome frequently appeared in other disease cluster lists:




The presentation was concluded by a discussion of what an autoimmune wish-list may contain:


Although Ms. Baron-Faust did an admirable job in covering a great deal of information in her one-hour time slot, I think that this topic would deserve an entire conference. Or -- an entire book!

Oh, right.......She's already written one.


1 comment:

Michelle Huddleston said...

Thank you for posting this!!! I can't take my Plaquinel, because I had a two level cervical fusion in May. I had been symptom free, but they are all coming back!!!!

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