Different Types of Rare Diseases

A rare disease is defined as a condition that affects less than 200,000 people. This explanation was formed by Congress in the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. There may be as many as 7,000 rare diseases. Only a few categories of rare diseases are tracked when a person is diagnosed. These include certain infectious diseases, birth defects, and cancers. It also comprises the diseases on state newborn screening tests. Because most rare diseases are not trailed, it is hard to determine the exact number of rare diseases. Most rare diseases are genetic, and thus are present throughout the person's intact life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear.


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