February is the Rare Disease Month

February is the Rare Disease Month. Because it manifests itself only rarely, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) falls within the rare diseases category. It is also a treatment orphan disease.

Since this is February, it is pertinent for us to tell you about it. 

 

A few distinctions …

  • A rare disease is defined as a disease that affects less than 1 in 2000 (DMD affects 1 in 3500, which makes it a rare disease).
  • The RQMO estimates that, in Québec, nearly one in 20 is afflicted by or carrier of a rare disease, for a total of nearly 500,000 Quebecers. Many rare diseases are chronic, progressive and fatal. The CORD estimates approximately, 3 million Canadians and their families face a debilitating disease that severely impacts their lives.
  • Nearly 75% of these diseases affect children, and about 80% of them are genetic.
  • The term “orphan disease” is often confused with the term “rare disease” because the vast majority of rare diseases are orphans in many ways.
  • A medical condition is referred to as an orphan disease if there is no treatment for the disease other than treating the symptoms, as is the case for DMD: for example, prednisone is a medication that has an effect on the symptoms but not on the cause of the disease.

 

The rarity of these diseases creates obstacles and needs for afflicted people both in our health system and in society in general.

The Quebec Coalition for Orphan Diseases (RQMO) works to provide information and support to patients, their families, and healthcare professionals. Their website is full of relevant information both for professionals and caregivers. Being rare, these diseases are often of little interest to researchers and organizations who fund research. The RQMO aims to advance knowledge about the various rare and orphan diseases by promoting exchanges between patients and researchers.

The Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD) is Canada’s national network for organizations representing all those with rare disorders. CORD provides a strong collective voice to advocate for health policy and a healthcare system that works for those with rare disorders. CORD works with governments, researchers, clinicians and industry to promote research, diagnosis, treatment, and services for all rare disorders in Canada.

February 28Th is the Rare Disease Day to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives.

We wish to emphasize that the information contained in this article come mainly from the RQMO website and the CORD website.

We thank them.

 

Rare disease day

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