Today Is World Arthritis Day

First observed in 1996, World Arthritis Day aims to raise awareness of the condition and make both patients and caregivers aware of available help and support. On the web site you can find a World Arthritis Day event in your area or publicize your own event. The site also provides tips and support for managing rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMD).

While rheumatoid arthritis is the most well known arthritic condition, the broad category of arthritis includes other conditions as well. Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are divided into inflammatory and non-inflammatory types:

  • Common non-inflammatory RMDs consist of degenerative spine diseases, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia
  • Common inflammatory RMDs consist of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, connective tissue diseases, and polymyalgia rheumatica

In the industrialized world, RMDs affect more individuals than any other disease group. In the European Union they affect a quarter of all people—more than 120 million individuals. In the United States, more than 50 million adults—one in five people over age 18—have doctor-diagnosed arthritis; about 300,000 babies and children—one in every 250 children—have arthritis or a rheumatic condition. Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the U.S. and accounts for $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses.

The theme for this year’s observance of World Arthritis Day is “It’s in your hands, take action!” The campaign focuses on giving High 5s. Participate on social media with the hashtag #WADHigh5.