Every year, October 12 is observed as “World Arthritis Day (WAD)”. Sponsored by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), the campaign aims to spread awareness about the existence and impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by inflammation in one of more the joints.
Regarded as a leading cause for work disability, arthritis causes swelling and tenderness in one or more joints that can limit functionality, the ability to perform daily tasks, affecting quality of life and participation in society – including access to the world of work.
The 2022 WAD campaign aims to help raise awareness in audiences across the world of the existence and impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, often referred to as RMDs. According to EULAR, an estimated 100 million people currently remain undiagnosed and trying to cope with symptoms that are often overlooked – and frequently misdiagnosed.
The campaign offers a strong platform for people to understand RMD symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, as well as the way to develop and execute a career plan to achieve independence. It offers an opportunity to support the community with education, support, advocacy, and research opportunities, and to shine a spotlight on the causes and ways to manage different types of arthritis.
Arthritis is more common in women than men and also in people who are overweight. Reduction in the normal amount of cartilage tissue is one of the most common causes of this condition. Other causes include excessive physical activity, genetic predispositions, auto immune disorders, obesity, and sports impact injuries. Symptoms of this condition usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Common symptoms include – joint pain, stiffness, swelling and redness, and reduced range of motion. The pain can be extremely debilitating and prevent people from performing routine normal tasks.
Chronic pain and stiffness in the joints are one of the common symptoms associated with the condition. There are different types of arthritis namely osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout being the common types. Early identification of symptoms and associated risk factors can help determine the best treatment options. Treatment modalities vary and depend on the type of arthritis a person has and generally include a combination of medications, physical therapy, and use of splints/braces.
If conservative measures don’t yield the desired results, physicians may recommend surgical options for damaged joints such as joint repair, joint fusion and joint replacement. Incorporating lifestyle change like – reducing body weight, maintaining a healthy diet, getting good quality sleep, quitting smoking and staying physically active are important to manage arthritis.
The theme of WAD 2022 campaign is – What is your #RheumaPainPoint? The theme is focused on understanding the key issues that the diverse audience groups have in the field of rheumatology such as a shrinking medical workforce, long waiting times for appointments, or lacking understanding of RMDs among governmental decision-makers. Analyzing and understanding these ‘pain points’ in better manner will allow them to be better addressed both at the national and international level.