Immune-Mediated Disorders

Immune Mediated Disorder

Immune-mediated disorders — those involving immune activation – have soared among American children in recent decades; allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases are all inexplicably on a sharp upward trajectory.

Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and, in the latter part of the 20th century, has reached epidemic proportions and continues to increase. According to the CDC, asthma affects 25 million people, including six million children under 18 and is a “significant health and economic burden to patients, their families, and society.”1

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million Americans are affected by allergies.2

This includes millions of American children with reported allergic rhinitis (5.2 million), respiratory allergies (7.1 million), food allergies (4.8 million) and skin allergies (9.2 million), in 2018.3

A growing number of young Americans die from a life-threatening form of allergy called anaphylaxis, as its occurrence is increasing across all ages in the United States, with highest risk of mortality in teenagers and young adults.4

Autoimmune diseases, of which there are at least 80 distinct conditions, occur as a result of the immune system attacking the body’s own tissues and organs. Some of the more common autoimmune conditions include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and inflammatory bowel disease. Taken together, these conditions, once so rare they were virtually unheard of, have increased from year to year for mostly unknown reasons and are now, “as a group afflict 5%–9% of the U.S. population,” according to a report in International Journal of Molecular Sciences.5

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Most Recent National Asthma Data. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/most_recent_national_asthma_data.htm

2. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Allergy Facts and Figures. https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Allergies and Hay Fever. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm

4. Dinakar (2012). Anaphylaxis in children: current understanding and key issues in diagnosis and treatment. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 12(6):641-649. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11882-012-0284-1

5. Parks et al. (2014). Expert panel workshop consensus statement on the role of the environment in the development of autoimmune disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 15(8):14269-14297. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms150814269

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