Since its inception in 2012, Rare Disease Report has stressed the phrase "When you hear hoofbeats, don’t assume it’s a horse."
This, of course, is a twist on former Maryland professor’s Dr Theodore Woodward’s instructions to his medical interns. Woodward insisted on thinking horses and avoiding zebras in all diagnoses, because rare diseases are just that - rare.
With RDR’s new infographic, you’ll see exactly why it’s so important to keep an open mind, though. This zebra and the 5 facts that come along with it are constant reminders to look for stripes.
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- In the United States, a disease or disorder is defined as rare when it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans at any given time.
- 80% of rare diseases have identified genetic origins, while others are the result of infections (bacterial or viral), allergies and environmental causes, or are degenerative and proliferative.
- 50% of rare diseases affect children.
- The lack of scientific knowledge and quality information on the disease often results in a delay in diagnosis and can result in heavy burdens ? both social and financial ? on patients and their families.
- Common symptoms can mask underlying rare diseases and lead to misdiagnosis and a delay of treatment.
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