Simple Tasks for Rheumatoid Diseases

Last updated: September 2018

I have rheumatoid disease (arthritis). It’s just one of many rheumatic diseases, which, according to the American College of Rheumatology, are “often lumped under the term arthritis, which describes over 100 diseases. Under this umbrella there are more than 30 inflammatory rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, scleroderma, juvenile arthritis and more.

Rheumatic Diseases

Symptoms of rheumatic diseases vary depending on the individual and the disease, but may include joint or muscle pain, inflammation, swelling, redness, or stiffness; eye irritation and inflammation; general fatigue, malaise, and fevers; hair loss; dry eyes or mouth; chest pain; and seizures or stroke.

According to the ACR’s Simple Tasks website, “With rheumatic diseases, patients develop deformities so severe that simple tasks, such as walking, brushing your hair or getting dressed in the morning become difficult and sometimes impossible.”

And so, “Simple Tasks” is the American College of Rheumatology’s ongoing public awareness campaign to raise public awareness of rheumatic diseases and the work of rheumatologists, and to work toward and implement favorable public policy in the U.S. This month is Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Month, a part of its ongoing efforts.

Simple Tasks' mission

Launched in 2011, Simple Tasks’ year-round goals are to:

  • Educate lawmakers, administration officials, think tanks and advocacy groups on the importance of rheumatology.
  • Increase the understanding of the work of rheumatologists.
  • Lay a foundation of awareness that creates support for more favorable public policy.
  • According to the Simple Tasks website, the campaign aims to answer questions, such as “What is a rheumatologist? What is rheumatoid arthritis and other common forms of arthritis, and what are the best treatment options for the millions of Americans and caregivers affected by rheumatic diseases?

    “By increasing the visibility of rheumatic diseases, how they affect millions of patients and the role of the specialists who treat them, the ACR hopes influencers will recognize the value, understand the issues, and make decisions that support rheumatology and the patients served by the rheumatology health care team.”

    Why should this be important to me, you might ask? When lawmakers, administration officials, think tanks, and advocacy groups become aware of rheumatology’s importance to millions of rheumatic disease patients all over the country, they are more likely to:

  • help raise public awareness and funds for research into new treatments and cures
  • help motivate medical students to become rheumatologists, which in turn will help alleviate a growing, increasingly concerning shortage of rheumatologists nationwide, even as the number of rheumatic disease patients rises
  • help educate patients about rheumatic diseases, ways to treat them, how to find rheumatologists in their areas, and how to speak up for themselves.
  • Simple Tasks also advocates for rheumatologists, noting that “Just as you would go to an oncologist to treat cancer, it is critical to go to a rheumatologist to receive the best total care for a rheumatic disease. Rheumatologists are doctors specially trained to diagnose, manage and treat arthritis and rheumatic diseases. [They] have a deep understanding of the physical, mental, economic, and societal impacts of rheumatic diseases and are skilled at recognizing and treating the wide array of rheumatic disease symptoms that can affect almost any organ in the body.

    “It is best to see a rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis treatment or treatment of other rheumatic diseases,” states Simple Tasks.

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    This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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