What is a rare or orphan disease?

According to the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, any disease affecting fewer than 200,000 people is considered rare. There are nearly 7,000 rare diseases affecting nearly 30 million Americans, resulting in almost one in 10 Americans suffering from rare diseases.

A rare or orphan disease is one that has fewer than 200,000 cases in the nation, according to the National Institute of Health. In the European Union, a rare or orphan disease is defined as one that affects five or fewer people out of every 10,000.

Whichever you prefer, the answer remains the same: Thousands of rare or orphan diseases affect millions of people every day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.