These Stats on Autoimmune Disease in the U.S. Shocked Even Me

It’s autoimmune awareness month so I’ve been pulling together some autoimmune disease stats share with you.

I knew rates of autoimmune disease — which is where the immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissue — have been on the rise, but these autoimmune disease stats I found with a quick Google search were shocking…

2023 Autoimmune Disease Stats

Check this out —

  • In the lat 25 years (since the late 1980s) there has been a 44-50% increase in the presence of ANA antibodies (1, 2) — the most common biomarker of autoimmunity — in the population.
  • Autoimmune diseases are now one of the most common disease categories – up there with cancer and heart disease and increasing at a more accelerated rate (3).
  • 8% of the US population has a formal diagnosis of autoimmune disease, but it’s estimated more like 20-25% of the population may have one that’s undiagnosed.
  • It takes an average of 5 years and 5 doctors to get an autoimmune diagnosis.
  • Autoimmunity can affect any tissue, organ, gland, enzyme in the body. There are now between 80-100 different types including diseases that weren’t previously considered autoimmune but now by some are like endometriosis, POTS, narcolepsy, and Alzheimer’s.
  • Women account for 75% of all cases of autoimmune disease.
  • There is no database that tracks categorization, treatment and population data around autoimmune disease like there is for cancer which limits research, understanding of the diseases and advancements in treatments.
  • One study that looked at rates of increases in ANA antibodies found consistent increases year over year, particularly in the youngest group looked at (age 12-19) which had the largest increase from a two-fold to a three-fold increase over the three timeframes studied (4).
  • Scientists attribute the increase in prevalence to changes in the environment (diet, lifestyle, toxin exposure, climate change) over genetics.
  • Autoimmune diseases are VERY rare, practically non-existent, in undeveloped parts of the world which points to the hygiene hypothesis and the role of microbe exposure in education and proper development of the immune system.
  • While we’re lacking official data from studies to confirm, anecdotally, post COVID infection, there seems to be an increase in new autoimmune diagnoses as well as a reactivation of disease that had previously achieved remission (5).
  • Most cases of autoimmunity are in process (aka early, undetectable stages) and individuals can have a positive ANA 10 years or more before a diagnosis can be made (6). This means we could be catching autoimmune diseases early and preventing or reversing them if we know what to look for. 

That last autoimmune disease stat is what I want to focus on.

I’m pulling together more info on what autoimmune disease is — what’s really going on in the body that allows it to happen. Plus, what to look for, what lab markers to check to know if you’re at risk.

What you can do if you either are already diagnosed with one of these diseases, or if someone in your family is and you’re at greater risk, or if you just want to be proactive and do everything in your power to prevent.

I have SO much to share on this topic….

Have specific questions about autoimmune or someone in particular you want me to include? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I work with lots of folks with autoimmune disease — everything from Ankylosing Spondylitis, to Hashimoto’s, to Lupus and have helped clients become free of pain, reduce their medication, and feel like they have their life back.

If you’re dealing with autoimmune and want a partner to help navigate the healing process, I’d love to support you.

I have a few spots open right now for one-on-one coaching. If interested or want to learn more, grab some time for a free chat with me here.


P.S. Looking for a partner who can help you navigate how to manage and possibly even reverse your autoimmune disease? I work with lots of folks with autoimmune diagnoses and have helped them become free of pain, reduce their meds and get their life back. Want to learn more? Grab some time for a free chat with me here.


The content in this post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical advice.

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