The History of World Arthritis Day

October hosts two great distinctions for two special chronic conditions. It not only has World Psoriasis Day which is celebrated on October 29th of each year but it also has World Arthritis Day. World Psoriasis Day started in 2004. World Arthritis Day, however, has been around so much longer.

Within this article, I am proud to give you the history of World Arthritis Day and why it is important to each of us living this with psoriatic arthritis, an unpredictable and painful rheumatic condition.

The history and importance of World Arthritis Day

World Arthritis Day is always observed on October 12th of every year. It was started in 1996 by an organization called Arthritis and Rheumatism International. The goal? To gain global awareness about arthritis and how it affects the body.

Those of us with PsA, have become experts by sheer force. It has been imperative to our health that we learn to listen to our bodies and describe how we feel. While some of us may still be able to walk with light pain, there are few of us where it is simply unbearable.

It is for this reason that World Arthritis Day has become so important. It is a grassroots effort to bring awareness to the debilitating side of arthritis.

What is the theme?

The theme of World Arthritis Day this year is “Don’t delay, connect today: time2work”. Which is a combination of themes from the past. If you think about it, this theme is pretty significant. Since so many of us struggle with diagnosis, learning about connections and sharing them can be pretty important.

My own diagnosis journey had a few hiccups. Personally, it was back and forth between osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. In my opinion, the theme of this year is geared toward the hope that quicker diagnosis would mean quicker treatment.

I believe this year's theme is also geared toward raising awareness in the workplace. Having a chronic condition shouldn't discriminate you from a job or a livelihood. As if we didn't have enough guilt to bear. Those with arthritis can still work, they just need support and compassion from their employer. Where does that start? Awareness.

Debunking myths is important too

There are common myths and misconceptions about arthritis. Awareness and World Arthritis Day can have an impact on changing that. I've listed a few myths below:

  • Only older adults develop arthritis:Arthritis can affect people of any age.
  • If your joint hurts, it is arthritis: A joint pain doesn't mean that it is arthritis. There are many possible causes of pain in and around the joints, including tendinitis, bursitis and injuries.
  • People with arthritis should not exercise: Exercise is not an activity that people with arthritis need to avoid as it can help to maintain a range of motion and strength in the joints.
  • Heat is better than ice for sore joints. This is not true. Ice and heat can soothe sore joints. As per the expert, when a joint is stiff and when it experiences pain, cold and heat can relieve pain and it might also be useful if the joint is inflamed.
  • Arthritis is not preventable: It is a partial myth because, in every case of arthritis, doctors face some risk factors, such as advancing age that is not modifiable. However, minimizing or eliminating it prevents the onset of arthritis or slows its progression.

Awareness makes the largest impact

Awareness can make all the difference when it comes to arthritis - this includes research and one specific hope: an official test for diagnosis. Our ultimate hope? A cure. Until that time comes, understanding and awareness can make the largest impact.

It is only when we tell our story that we can change our future.

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