Burden of autoimmune disorders was found to increase at varying rates over time, according to study results presented at the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) 2023 Annual Congress, held from May 31 to June 3, 2023, in Milan, Italy.
Limited evidence is available on the overall incidence and trends in autoimmune disorders over time.
Researchers assessed the incidence and prevalence of autoimmune disorders and trends based on age, sex, socioeconomic status, and geographic region, as well as rates of co-occurrence among these diseases.
Patients with autoimmune diseases were identified using electronic health records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).
Of a total of 22,009,375 individuals enrolled in the study, 978,872 (mean age, 54.0±21.4 years; 63.9% were women) had at least 1 diagnosis of an autoimmune disease.
From 2000 to 2016, the researchers observed an increase in incidence of rates of autoimmune diseases; the highest incidence being celiac disease, Sjogren syndrome, and Graves’ disease. However, Hashimoto thyroiditis and pernicious anemia showed a significant decrease in incidence.
Overall, 10.2% of the population (13.1% women) was affected by the autoimmune diseases studied.
A gradient was observed based on socioeconomic status for Graves’ disease, pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. With regard to seasonal variations, type 1 diabetes was most common during the winter and vitiligo during the summer. Researchers also noted variations with geographic region.
In the second part of the analysis, autoimmune disorders were found to be associated with each other. Type 1 diabetes, for example, co-occurred with Addison disease, celiac disease, and thyroid diseases. Of note, multiple sclerosis had a low rate of co-occurrence with other autoimmune diseases.
Overall, the study authors concluded, “The interrelations between autoimmune diseases are commensurate with shared pathogenetic mechanisms or predisposing factors, particularly among connective tissue diseases and among endocrine diseases.”
Disclosure: Multiple study authors. declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.
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Conrad N, Misra S, Verbeke G, et al. Incidence, prevalence and co-occurrence of autoimmune disorders, trends over time and by age, sex, and socioeconomic status. A population-based study in 22 million individuals. Presented at EULAR 2023 Annual Congress; May 31 to June 3, 2023; Milan, Italy. Poster #OP0007.