National Awareness Day & Month Calendar for 2024 (Autoimmune Disease Version)

Autoimmune Disease Awareness Calendar

Did you know that scientists believe there are over 80 autoimmune diseases that are known at this time? That includes more well known diseases like Lupus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) as well as less common diseases like Sarcoidosis, Vitiligo and Scleroderma. 

 
Disease awareness days and months are intended to bring more awareness to autoimmune diseases and help bring a greater understanding to living life with an autoimmune disease. Awareness days can also help spread awareness of research organizations like Lupus Research Alliance and help raise funds to find better treatments and even hopefully one day, a cure. 

What is an autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own cells and tissues. Normally, the immune system's role is to defend the body against harmful invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. However, in autoimmune diseases, the immune system cannot distinguish between healthy cells and foreign substances, leading it to target and attack the body's own tissues. There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, and they can affect various organs and systems in the body. 

The exact cause of autoimmune diseases is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. These diseases often result in chronic inflammation and can cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on the specific condition and the organs affected. Treatment for autoimmune diseases typically involves managing symptoms and suppressing the immune response to prevent further damage to the body's tissues.

Learn more about how ImmunaRelief helps people with autoimmune diseases

Unfortunately there are still not a lot of good treatment options for most autoimmune diseases which makes awareness and research all the more important. 

Browse the list of autoimmune & related awareness months/days in our calendar below and learn more about each disease: 

January

Thyroid Awareness Month 

  • There are several different autoimmune diseases that affect the thyroid including Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Grave's Disease
  • It's estimated that over 200 million people worldwide are affected with some form of thyroid disease

February

American Heart Month

  • Unfortunately a number of autoimmune diseases can affect the heart - including but not limited to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) & Vasculitis. People with SLE, RA & PsA are up to 3 times more likely to experience heart disease than their counterparts
  • Heart issues commonly seen in autoimmune diseases include but are not limited to: valvular heart disease, ASCVD (Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease), heart failure, pericardial disease and arrythmias

Raynaud's Awareness Month

  • While not technically an autoimmune disease itself, Raynaud's phenomenon is fairly common in autoimmune diseases like Scleroderma, Lupus & Sjögren's Syndrome.
  • Raynaud's disease is a condition characterized by episodic vasoconstriction of blood vessels, typically in the fingers and toes but sometimes also in the nose and ears, that leads to reduced blood flow and color changes in the affected areas in response to cold or stress. It often causes numbness, tingling, and pain during episodes and severe cases may lead to tissue damage.
  • As many as 5% of the population may have Raynaud's

March

Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month

  • To bring awareness to all autoimmune diseases and those who live with them

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective covering of nerve fibers in the central nervous system, leading to communication disruptions between the brain and the rest of the body. This can result in a range of symptoms, including fatigue, impaired coordination, and difficulties with vision and overall mobility. 
  • There are 4 main types of MS: Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS) - most common, Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS), Primary Progressive MS (PPMS), Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS)
  • Approximately 2.8 million people are living with some form of MS

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April

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month (IBS Awareness)

  • While IBS is not technically an autoimmune disease, it is a common co-morbidity for many, many autoimmune diseases. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel habits. It is a functional disorder, meaning there are no structural abnormalities in the intestines however living with IBS can significantly impact a person's quality of life.
  • It's estimated that somewhere between 24 to 45 million Americans are living with IBS

Sjögren's Syndrome Awareness Month 

  • Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the glands that produce tears and saliva, leading to dry eyes and a dry mouth. It can also affect other organs, causing a range of symptoms, and is often associated with other autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Between 400,000 and 3.1 million adults have Sjögren's syndrome

Sarcoidosis Awareness Month

  • Sarcoidosis is a rare (autoimmune-like) inflammatory disease where abnormal masses or nodules, called granulomas, form in various organs, most commonly the lungs and lymph nodes. The cause of sarcoidosis is not well understood, and the condition can range from mild with no symptoms to severe, affecting multiple organ systems.
  • Sarcoidosis affects approximately 150,000-200,000 Americans every year

May

Lupus Awareness Month 

  •  Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks various organs and tissues in the body, leading to inflammation and damage. Symptoms of lupus can range from joint pain and skin rashes to more severe complications affecting the kidneys, heart, skin and other organs.
  • Approximately 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide are living with lupus

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Fibromyalgia Awareness Month 

  • While fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease, it's a very common co-morbidity with many autoimmune diseases. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas. It often coexists with other symptoms such as sleep disturbances, cognitive issues, and heightened sensitivity to pain.
  • Up to 5% of the world's population is living with fibromyalgia

Arthritis Awareness Month 

  • While there are many types of arthritis that are not caused by autoimmune diseases, there are also many autoimmune diseases that cause arthritis as a result of the disease. Some of these include:
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
    • Ankylosing Spondylitis
    • Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
    • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
    • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
    • Sjögren's Syndrome
    • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD)

Celiac Awareness Month 

  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by the ingestion of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. In individuals with celiac disease, the immune system responds to gluten by damaging the small intestine, leading to malabsorption of nutrients and various gastrointestinal and systemic symptoms.
  • An estimated 2 million people worldwide are living with celiac disease

Days:

May 10th 2024 - World Lupus Day

May 12th, 2024 - Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) & Fibromyalgia International Awareness Day 

May 19th, 2024 World IBD Day (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

June

Scleroderma Awareness Month 

  • Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune disease characterized by abnormal growth of connective tissue, leading to skin thickening and internal organ damage. The condition can vary widely in its presentation, affecting the skin, blood vessels, and internal organs, often resulting in symptoms such as Raynaud's phenomenon, skin tightening, and digestive or respiratory issues.
  • Scleroderma affects approximately 300,000 people in the United States

Vitiligo Awareness Month

  • Vitiligo is a skin disorder characterized by the loss of pigmentation, resulting in white patches on the skin due to the destruction of melanocytes. The exact cause of vitiligo is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve autoimmune factors and genetic predisposition.
  • Approximately 7 million people worldwide have vitiligo

Men's Health Month

  • While most autoimmune diseases primarily affect women, there's still a significant amount of men that develop autoimmune diseases and they tend to have more severe symptoms as well. Men also have lupus and other autoimmune diseases even if not as common. 

June 25th, 2024 - World Vitiligo Day

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July 

Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month

  • Juvenile Arthritis (also known as pediatric rheumatic disease) refers to a group of autoimmune and inflammatory joint disorders that affect children under the age of 16. This condition can cause joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, impacting a child's daily activities and potentially leading to long-term joint damage.
  • Juvenile arthritis affects nearly 300,000 kids and teens in the United States

Grave's Disease Awareness Month

  • Grave's disease is an autoimmune disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones, leading to hyperthyroidism. It is characterized by symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter).
  • About 1% of the US population has Grave's Disease

Days: 

July 23rd, 2024 World Sjögren's Day

August

Psoriasis Awareness Month

  • Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by the rapid buildup of skin cells, leading to the formation of red, scaly patches or plaques. It is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, causing an accelerated skin cell turnover. Psoriasis can also cause joint issues called Psoriatic Arthritis. 
  • Psoriasis affects an estimated 7.5 million to 8 million people in the United States and about 125 million worldwide

Gastroparesis Awareness Month

  • Gastroparesis is a condition where the stomach muscles fail to function properly, causing delayed emptying of the stomach. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloating and (often severe) abdominal pain.
  • While gastroparesis is not an autoimmune disease, it is a common co-morbidity for many autoimmune diseases
  • 1 and 4 adults in the US are living with gastroparesis

September

Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month 

  • Rheumatic disease is an umbrella term that refers to arthritis and several other conditions that affect the joints, tendons, muscle, ligaments, bones, and muscles. 
  • Some common rheumatic autoimmune diseases include, but are not limited to: 
    • Lupus
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis 
    • Psoriatic Arthritis
    • Scleroderma
    • Sjögren's Syndrome
    • Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) 

Alopecia Areata Awareness Month

  • Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss in defined patches on the scalp or other areas of the body. The immune system mistakenly targets hair follicles, leading to sudden and often unpredictable hair loss. Alopecia is common in systemic lupus. 
  • Alopecia areata affects approximately 160 million people worldwide

October

National Eczema Awareness Month 

  • Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by inflammation, redness, and itching. It often involves a compromised skin barrier and can manifest as dry, scaly patches that may flare up periodically.
  • While eczema is not an autoimmune disease itself, it's common for people with autoimmune diseases to develop eczema.
  • Approximately 30% of all people have eczema

November

Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Month

  • Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are both inflammatory bowel diseases characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. While Crohn's can affect any part of the digestive system and can involve all layers of the bowel wall, ulcerative colitis primarily affects the colon and rectum, causing inflammation and ulcers on the inner lining of the colon. Crohn's and colitis are part of a group of diseases called Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD. 
  • It's estimated that over 2 million Americans have some form of IBD

American Diabetes Month 

  • There are 3 types of diabetes - Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes. While only Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, all types of diabetes are more common in those living with various autoimmune diseases.

December

December 3rd, 2024, International Day of Persons with Disabilities