when is arthritis awareness month

Arthritis Awareness Month

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Written by BFH Staff Writer on May 20, 2024

While arthritis is a familiar term to many, its full impact might not be well understood. Arthritis is actually the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting around 60 million people of all ages. To shed light on this painful and limiting condition, we dedicate the month of May as Arthritis Awareness Month.

History of Arthritis Awareness Month

In 1972, Congress and President Richard M. Nixon designated May as National Arthritis Month. This special designation aims to highlight the importance of research, services, and education related to arthritis, while also raising funds to support these efforts. Since then, every May has been dedicated to increasing public awareness about arthritis and its impact on individuals and communities.

Understanding Arthritis: Basic Facts

Arthritis is a widespread health concern affecting millions of individuals across the United States. Contrary to common belief, it’s not solely confined to the elderly population. This underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing arthritis as a condition that can impact individuals of all ages and walks of life.

Arthritis encompasses a diverse range of conditions, with over 100 identified types of arthritis and related rheumatic diseases. These conditions vary in terms of their causes, symptoms, and treatments, highlighting the complexity of arthritis as a medical issue.

The economic burden of arthritis on the United States is substantial, costing the nation over $300 billion annually. These costs encompass medical expenses, lost wages due to disability, and other associated financial burdens.

Furthermore, individuals with arthritis often experience comorbidities, which are additional health conditions that coexist alongside arthritis. These comorbidities, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, can further complicate and exacerbate the management of arthritis while posing significant risks to overall health and well-being. Recognizing and addressing these accompanying conditions is essential for comprehensive arthritis management and improved health outcomes.

Strategies on How You Can Conquer Arthritis

Here are some management strategies to help combat arthritis:

  1. Stay Active: Engage in low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and cycling to improve joint flexibility and strength.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Weight: A balanced diet and healthy weight can reduce strain on joints, easing arthritis symptoms.
  3. Manage Stress: Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to alleviate stress and reduce inflammation.
  4. Adapt Your Environment: Make home and work adjustments, like using ergonomic tools and assistive devices, to minimize joint strain.
  5. Seek Support: Connect with friends, family, and support groups for encouragement and advice.
  6. Follow Treatment Plan: Consistently adhere to your healthcare provider’s recommendations, including medications and therapies.
  7. Stay Informed: Stay updated on arthritis management strategies and research to make informed decisions about your health.

Takeaways

Arthritis Awareness Month in May serves as a reminder that arthritis affects millions of individuals of all ages, not just the elderly. By understanding the prevalence, impact, and management strategies for arthritis, we can work towards creating a supportive environment for those living with this condition. Through education, advocacy, and support, we can empower individuals to conquer arthritis and lead fulfilling lives despite its challenges. Let’s unite in raising awareness and promoting solutions to improve the lives of those affected by arthritis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some common misconceptions about arthritis?

Common misconceptions about arthritis include the belief that it only affects older adults, that it’s merely aches and pains associated with aging, or that it’s not a serious health condition. Arthritis Awareness Month aims to dispel these myths and raise awareness about the diverse impact of arthritis on individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Is there a cure for arthritis?

While there is currently no cure for most types of arthritis, various treatment options are available to manage symptoms, slow disease progression, and improve quality of life. These treatments may include medications, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and in some cases, surgery.

Can children have arthritis?

Yes, children can develop arthritis. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), is the most common type of arthritis in children. It affects individuals under the age of 16 and can cause joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and other symptoms similar to arthritis in adults.

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