|To the Congress of the United States,
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is the most severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It can lead to dehydration, severe malnutrition and electrolyte imbalance that can be fatal for both mother and her unborn child(ren).
The cause and prevalence of HG are unknown due largely to the absence of larger scale, controlled research. Some studies estimate as many as 10 percent of pregnant women are affected. According to the Healthcare Cost & Utilization Project (HCUP), there are nearly 300,000 visits to ERs and hospitals due to HG. HG is hardly a rare disorder. Still, fewer than 20 studies were published on HG in 2010 while studies on birth defects, which affect fewer children, number over 11,000.
After an extensive online search and months of continued research to locate statistics regarding HG, the Ayden Rae Foundation is appalled to report the outcome of the findings. Unfortunately, it has been since 2008 that any statistics have been tracked surrounding the true impact of HG. The report before that was conducted in 1996. In 1996, there were approximately 68,000 documented cases of HG in the U.S. In 2008, HCUP reported nearly 300,000 visits to the ERs and hospitals due to HG.
HG incidence rates are comparable to breast cancer rates. Yet, federal funding is not available for HG research, awareness, and education efforts. In 2008, there were close to 300,000 documented HG related emergency room visits and hospital stays; there were only 185,000 breast cancer related visits and stays according to The American Cancer Society.
In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer as estimated by the American Cancer Society. New cases for HG are unknown at this point because they are not being tracked and/or being misdiagnosed. Once the true facts and figures are properly calculated, the impact HG has on families worldwide will be astonishing.
- In 2007, Breast Cancer received a significant amount of funding, 7 million, and HG received no funding or recognition from the National Institutes of Health, our nation’s medical research agency.
Scientists working to discover new treatments for medical conditions and cures should not be made to compete for limited research funding. Scientists must feel encouraged to develop HG research as well. Both breast cancer and HG research funding must continue to grow. Breast cancer and HG patients, are similar in number and should receive adequate funding and promotion.
We, the undersigned, call on the Congress of the United States to make HG research a national public health priority. Specifically, we ask the members of Congress to ensure that promotion and funding for HG research is, at all times, comparable to levels allocated for breast cancer and other diseases funded for the public health.
It is theorized that HG is genetic and may be passed from mother to child. This explains the explosive numbers of ER and hospital visits up from 68,000 in 1996 to approximately 300,000 in 2008. However, due to the lack of research, no one knows for sure. Much needed research has yet to be done on the subject of HG to confirm or deny any such findings and how many there are to date. USC and UCLA are awaiting funding for research at this time. The Ayden Rae Foundation and its supporters are doing all they can with limited funding to aid such research and support the challenges in finding a cause and cure for HG http://www.aydenraefoundation.org/.
FACT: 1 in every 3 Hyperemesis Gravidarum pregnancies does not result in a live birth. By making Hyperemesis Gravidarum a National Priority, the United States can lead the way in identifying a cause and a cure for a disorder that claims innocent lives and destroys families.