Autoimmune diseases occur when a body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells. Currently, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases and treatment can only improve symptoms.

Studies have suggested an increase in autoimmune disease rates in recent years, which can mean an increased burden on the healthcare system to take care of patients with autoimmune diseases. GlobalData epidemiology analysis of two common autoimmune diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and Sjögren’s syndrome, found that the US and UK have higher prevalence rates than other countries.

SLE and Sjögren’s syndrome are distinct diseases with unique symptoms, such as blood disorder and rashes in SLE and dry eyes and joint pain for Sjögren’s syndrome. However, the two also share many similarities, such as they are both connective tissue disorders, have similar autoantibodies, and are more common in women than men. It is also common to have both SLE and Sjögren’s syndrome at the same time. Therefore, it would be expected to see similar epidemiology profiles for the two diseases.

Figure 1 below presents the comparison of age-adjusted diagnosed prevalence of SLE and primary Sjögren’s syndrome in seven major pharmaceutical markets (7MM) (the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and Japan), estimated by GlobalData epidemiologists. The prevalence rates were estimated based on in-depth review of population-based epidemiology studies.

It is difficult to pinpoint why the US and UK have higher prevalence. There could be underlying population characteristics or genetics that cause these two markets to have higher prevalence, or it could be better diagnosis or disease awareness in these markets that results in more diagnosed cases. GlobalData epidemiologists believe it is most likely a combination of the above. More studies would be necessary in the US and UK to better understand what is causing this trend, to help support autoimmune disease patients.   

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For more details about the epidemiology of these two autoimmune diseases, please see the EpiCast Reports. 

Related Reports

GlobalData (2016). EpiCast Report: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – Epidemiology Forecast To 2025, December 2016, GDHCER144-16

GlobalData (2015). EpiCast Report: Sjögren’s Syndrome – Epidemiology Forecast to 2024, December 2015, GDHCER104-15