What is Autoimmunity?

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Fast facts about autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes (T1D)

Research funded by JDRF in the 1970s and 1980s led to the discovery that type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease. But what does that really mean? Autoimmune diseases arise when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks another body part. This can result in a range of diseases depending on which parts of the body are affected. In T1D, it is the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin that helps the body convert sugar to fuel. Other forms of diabetes, like type 2 diabetes, also change how the body uses sugar but do not involve an autoimmune attack. Read on to learn more about autoimmune diseases and T1D.

There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases

They include multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, lupus and T1D.

24 million Americans have autoimmune diseases, including 1.25 million with T1D

More people are facing autoimmune diseases than cancer of any kind.

6 million Americans have more than one autoimmune disease

Scientists don’t know all the reasons why autoimmune diseases tend to cluster, but certain immune processes may be involved.

No autoimmune disease has yet been cured

JDRF plans to change that by finding a cure for T1D. We know no one has ever cured an autoimmune disease before, but we aren’t intimidated. We intend to make T1D the first autoimmune disease to be banished from our lives—and the research we fund has the potential to impact other autoimmune diseases as well.

Learn more about our research and how you can create a world without T1D.