Why should arthritis matter to you? Because there are 53 million Americans living with arthritis, including over 300,000 children. Did you know that October 12 is World Arthritis Day?
Arthritis is a large number of musculoskeletal diseases and conditions. There are over 100 different diseases and conditions. And it doesn’t discriminate – anyone of any age can get it. Two thirds of people with arthritis are under 65 and, again, over 300,000 children have it.
There are over 100 disease and conditions that fall under the umbrella term of arthritis, and the most common form is osteoarthritis. (Source) That’s the one usually associated with older people since it has to do with the breakdown of the joint cartilage. But you don’t have to be older to get it. Risk factors like being overweight and a history of joint injury go along with that, too. So think of athletes who get arthritis.
As the Arthritis National Research Foundation says, “The word arthritis means joint inflammation, however, we use the term arthritis to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases. These are conditions that all affect our joints, the tissues around our joint and other connective tissues. The severity symptoms will depend on the specific form of the disease. With most arthritic conditions you will experience pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints” (Source).
In fact, one person with arthritis you may recognize is Selena Gomez. She just announced that she has lupus and went through chemo for it (Source). Lupus is a condition “an autoimmune disorder because the body begins to wage battle with itself by destroying healthy tissue” (Source). While I’m sad that she has this and has joined the spoonie club, I’m so glad that there is a famous face who is speaking about the disease and is definitely showing others that you can look healthy and not be.
Some information you should know:
- People of all ages, sexes, and races can have arthritis.
- Many types of arthritis are inflammatory. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of them. In RA, “because the body’s immune system is “fighting” itself, fluid builds in the joints, often creating swelling, inflammation and significant pain throughout the body. ” (S)
- Arthritis is incurable.
- Treatments for people with inflammatory arthritis involves more than just taking 2 Aleve a day. It can involve pills and injections and infusions. It can involve chemotherapy and NSAIDS and DMARDS. (S)
I’ve lived with pain since fall 2000. I take 25 pills a day, 4 extra for chemo on Sundays, and once every 4 months I have chemo at the hospital.
So, why does this matter now?
Because Monday is World Arthritis Day. How can you help? By wearing blue to show support for those of us with arthritis and by sharing why you’re wearing blue.
I can’t decide which day arthritis affects me. The least you can do to support people like me is to tell others how you are affected by it. If you would like to learn about what else you can do, this time last year I wrote about the many options you have.