World Arthritis Day
Awareness campaigns like Breast Cancer Awareness Month (which is actually right now in October), Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and Food Allergy Awareness Week, among many, many others, are all around us and draw attention and education towards important medical conditions affecting countless individuals.
Did you know, however, that there is actually a World Arthritis Day? World Arthritis Day (WAD) is observed in over 50 countries on October 12th every year. It was originally established by Arthritis and Rheumatism International (ARI) in 1996 and has since grown tremendously.
The goals of World Arthritis Day
World Arthritis Day was implemented, and is still observed today, to achieve three main goals:
- Raising awareness about arthritis within the healthcare field as well as within the general public
- Helping to make sure those with arthritis, as well as their caregivers, have the support they need
- Influencing public policy by bringing the burdens of living with arthritis to decision-makers, as well as educating them on steps that can be taken to ease these burdens
The far-reaching effects of arthritis
Many people underestimate the incredibly far-reaching effects of arthritis that go way beyond the stereotypical grandmother or grandfather we picture with the condition.
Arthritis actually makes up around 100 different conditions that can destroy joints, bones, connective tissue, and much more.
Additionally, it can strike at any age. In fact, there are over 300,000 children growing up with arthritis and nearly two-thirds of the hundreds of millions with the condition are under 65 years old. While those over 65 have a higher incidence of the condition, they only comprise about a third of those affected.
Who is impacted by arthritis?
It has been reported that 1 in 5 adults have arthritis and it is the leading cause of disability in the US.
The CDC has indicated that 25 percent of adults report having severe daily pain, 45 percent report having limitations in daily activities, and over 30 percent have limitations to the amount or type of work they can do, due to their arthritis.1
Many conditions can exist co-morbid with arthritis as well, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety, and depression.1
The economic impact
The CDC projects that by 2030, over 67 million people in the US will have arthritis - which already costs $128 billion annually - will cause those who have it to lose more workdays every year than any other condition.1
For those with osteoarthritis and RA alone (only 2 forms of the 100 types), individuals reported losing over 172 million workdays every year! That’s over $156 billion in lost wages and medical expenses!1
Support and raising awareness
By sharing your story on social media or online support communities like RheumatoidArthritis.net, you can help raise awareness and influence change.
Arthritis affects so many more individuals than most realize, and awareness days like this can help spread the word to increase access to necessary medications, healthcare providers, and research funds, to ultimately help our community as a whole!
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?