Feb. 28 is Rare Digestive Diseases Day — 4 insights

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Diseases is helping unite patients across the world to raise awareness of rare gastrointestinal disorders on Rare Digestive Diseases Day, Feb. 28.

Here's what you should know:

1. A disease is considered rare when less than 200,000 people across the world contract it; however the National Institutes of Health estimates approximately 1 in 10 Americans has a rare disease, with nearly half affected being children.

2. NIH estimates there are 7,000 different rare disease types prevalent in the U.S. IFFGD said many of them affect the digestive tract.

3. IFFGD is working to advance research around these rare conditions.

4. Rare Digestive Diseases Day was started in Europe in 2008. It has since expanded to more than 80 countries.

IFFGD Executive Director Ceciel Rooker said, "Greater awareness for and understanding of these conditions can only come from research that involves the patient as a key stakeholder. By participating in research, patients help to shape the future of the care and treatment of rare diseases."

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