World Arthritis Day: 12 October, 2017

In news:

October 12 is World Arthritis Day.

This year’s theme for World Arthritis Day 2017 is ‘It’s in your hands, take action’.

It’s aim to raise awareness of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) and to encourage people with RMDs, their carers, families and the general public to seize every opportunity to take action and make a difference to the quality of life of people with RMDs.

Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

Some facts and figures on rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs):

* RMDs are commonly classified 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.

* RMDs affect both men and women of all ages, including children and babies.

* However, some RMDs are more common among certain populations. For example, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, fibromyalgia, and lupus predominantly affect women. Spondyloarthropathies and gout are more common in men.

* RMDs are the biggest cause of sick leave and premature retirement worldwide. If left untreated, some RMDs may reduce life expectancy.

* In some cases, RMDs can be hereditary, however a family history of RMDs does not mean you will inevitably get an RMD.

RMDs can also be triggered by lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive weight, sedentary lifestyles, increasing age and having occupations that lead to injury and overuse of joints/muscles, however in some cases the causes are unknown.

* RMDs are associated with a wide range of symptoms, including inflammation indicated by joint swelling, stiffness, redness, and/or warmth, persistent muscle and joint pain, tenderness, extreme fatigue, lack of energy, weakness, or a feeling of malaise, stiffness and restricted range in movement or flexibility, joint deformity, symptoms affecting the internal organs, and invisible symptoms e.g., depression and anxiety.


Treatment for RMDs typically focuses on managing the condition to ensure the best possible quality of life. There is no single medication or treatment that works for everyone. However, there are treatments, including medication, that help manage pain and control RMD symptoms. Physiotherapy is often advised to reduce the symptoms of certain RMDs.

The prevalence of clinical anxiety and depression in those with RMDs is about twice that seen in the general population — therefore psychological support may also be required.


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