Rare diseases are those diseases that are not seen frequently in a population. There are about 7000 rare diseases that have been identified worldwide, and 80% of them are caused by genetic changes. Since a small number of individuals are affected with rare diseases, most clinicians are not aware of such diseases, and thus, they remain undiagnosed and untreated. Awareness regarding such diseases is essential to train clinicians to diagnose individuals affected with these disorders and to develop National/International Registries, which will serve to give information about the disease prevalence, its natural course, treatment, and management options available, to the medical fraternity. Patient advocacy groups play a remarkable and unique role in forming the collective voice of individuals living with rare diseases. They help in the identification, diagnosis, management, treatment, and prevention of such diseases. Advocacy Groups form collaborative partnerships with scientists studying such rare diseases, clinicians managing these diseases, pharmaceutical companies developing drugs, and Government officials overseeing and policy makers implementing medical regulatory processes. Thus, advocacy groups play a key role in helping patients and families with rare diseases.
Part of the book: Rare Diseases