Culver City Edition Health

Walk raises funds to fight autoimmune diseases

CULVER CITY — The second annual Los Angeles Autoimmune Walk was held Nov. 5 at Culver City Park, seeking to raise awareness about autoimmune disease and its impact on individuals and families.

Proceeds from the walk are used by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association to fund research seeking to solve the underlying immune issues that link all autoimmune disorders.

Actress Haley Ramm was the walk’s ambassador. Her mother was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases over the past five years.

“I got involved after being so frustrated that these autoimmune diseases weren’t getting enough attention or research dollars,” said Ramm, a guest star on “Good Girls Revolt,” the Amazon Prime Video drama inspired by the landmark sexual discrimination cases by young female researchers at Newsweek in 1970 that began streaming Oct. 28.

There are more than 100 known autoimmune diseases, including lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis, Graves’ disease and multiple sclerosis, according to Deb Patrick, the national walk coordinator for the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.

More than 50 million people suffer from one or more autoimmune diseases, with more than 75 percent of them women, Patrick said.

Autoimmunity has been designated as a major women’s health issue by the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health.

Unlike cancer, an umbrella category for a range of diseases including leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, autoimmunity has yet to be embraced by the medical community as a category of disease, according to the association.

Because these diseases cross different medical specialties, such as rheumatology, endocrinology, hematology, neurology, cardiology, gastroenterology, and dermatology, and because such specialties usually focus on singular diseases within their particular category, there has been virtually no general focus on autoimmunity as the underlying cause, an association official said.