World Arthritis Day (12 October 2023)
Celebrate World Arthritis Day on October 12th with Maple Community Services!
Almost 1 in 3 people in Australia suffer with musculoskeletal conditions, and an estimated 3.6 million—or 1 in 6—are diagnosed with arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other types of the disease within their lifetime.
We celebrate World Arthritis Day every year on October 12th to raise awareness of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMD’s). WAD serves as a platform to unite communities and organisations in the effort to combat arthritis, promote early detection and enhance the quality of life for those living with this chronic condition.
Arthritis is the main cause of disability in Australia and there is currently no cure for the disease. However, amid the challenges, there is hope. We can take proactive steps to prevent the onset of arthritis and, for those already affected, manage its symptoms and treatment more effectively. Together, through education and support, we can make a meaningful impact on the lives of those living with arthritis, providing them with the care and resources they need to lead fulfilling lives.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t a single disease; rather it serves as an umbrella term encompassing over 100 types of Rheumatic diseases, all of which are related to joint pain or joint disease. Arthritis affects people across all ages, races and genders, as well as other animal species.
These diseases fall under the category of autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, leading to the immune system attacking joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments and bones. Common symptoms are described as joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion in affected joints. As such, arthritis can have a profound impact on a person’s mobility and overall quality of life.
What is World Arthritis Day?
Every year on October 12th we advocate for those living with the disease and promote the spread of useful information. World Arthritis Day (WAD) is a global awareness day founded by The Arthritis Foundation in 1996 and is dedicated towards shedding light on the existence and impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions.
On this day each year we can make some noise to bring awareness, reduce stigma, and advocate for improved healthcare policies and resources around the diagnosis and treatments of the many types of arthritis.
The aim is to share valuable tools and resources and support RMD patients and their carers. Understanding the diverse nature of arthritis can help us to pave the way for improved access to care and support for scientific advancements so we can understand its impact, and the importance of early detection, prevention, and management.
Why is World Arthritis Day celebrated?
These are the main reasons we celebrate World Arthritis Day on a yearly basis:
- Prevention to improve prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases and disabilities;
- Awareness to increase awareness surrounding the causes and effects of arthritis;
- Education to educate our communities about arthritis, reduce stigma and encourage equality;
- Advocate to advocate for more research into treatments and understanding about the impact on those with arthritis;
- Access to promote universal and quality access to health care, treatment, rehabilitation, and assistive technology for those living with musculoskeletal conditions.
When we have a better understanding of what is happening to the body with an arthritis diagnosis we can manage it better, get the treatment that is needed, help you to feel healthier and live a better quality of life. Therefore by dedicating a day each year to the importance of sharing information about this very common condition, more people can access the help they need.
Doing your part for World Arthritis Day
You will find various events, activities, and educational programs to get involved with either locally or online during World Arthritis Day. These initiatives aim to engage people with arthritis, their families, and the broader community in celebrating and acknowledging this debilitating disease.
You can also help by:
World Arthritis Day is a means to raise awareness about arthritis as a prevalent chronic condition that affects so many of us. We can do this with the help of local events, social media or community gatherings. WAD is an opportunity to educate the public and healthcare professionals about the different types of arthritis, their symptoms, causes and treatments.
Improving Quality of Life
Early diagnosis is integral for managing arthritis effectively. We can use this day to encourage people to recognise early warning signs and seek medical treatment. Better understanding around the condition can also reduce stigma relating to the disease and promote better support and care.
Sharing your Story
Sharing our personal stories can be a powerful way to spread information within our communities. Sometimes putting ourselves in vulnerable situations helps to generate the most invaluable support. You don’t have to wait until October 12th each year to share your story, but this day may be a good opportunity to share in solidarity with others who choose to do the same.
Joining Events and Fundraisers
Celebrate and advocate by actively participating in events or fundraisers that support the cause. Find events happening in your area or even consider volunteering for local initiatives.
Alternatively, you could organise your own event to learn, exchange stories or fundraise for certain organisations that work to shed light on the impact of arthritis and encourage research in this field. When we participate in events, we can actively contribute to the effort, learn more about the cause, meet interesting people and help to make a positive impact.
Remember, celebrating World Arthritis Day is not limited to a single day of the year. This celebration should inspire ongoing efforts to educate and promote awareness about arthritis throughout the whole year. Watch out for more opportunities with Maple Community Services.