World Arthritis Day is observed on October 12 every year around the globe. This global awareness raising and action day aims to spread awareness about issues affecting people living with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States and is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. The event focuses on raising awareness about arthritis and how it affects the lives of people living with this disease.
First observed in 1996 by an organization called Arthritis and Rheumatism International, World Arthritis Day is a strong platform for patients, doctors and health advocates to educate the public and spread the word about arthritis in all its forms. In recent years, it has become a worldwide event and has been championed by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) which represents patients, health professionals and rheumatology researchers from around the EU. The aim is to reduce the burden of this condition both on individuals and society.
Arthritis is a condition that primarily affects the musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints. It is characterized by inflammation of the joints, which is often accompanied by chronic pain, swelling, stiffness and restriction of movement. There are different types of arthritis, all of which can cause pain. With proper evaluation, timely treatment and measures to stay healthy, people with arthritis can manage pain and lead an active life.
Every one to two years, a new theme is selected for the day and the EULAR theme for 2015 and 2016 is ‘It’s In Your Hands, Take Action’. The theme encourages people with RMDs along with their caregivers, healthcare professionals, policy-makers, researchers and the general public to grasp every single opportunity to take action and make a difference to the quality of life of people with RMDs. The EULAR website offers several tools and resources for patients and organizations to get involved in the campaign. As part of the event, people are encouraged to take action and share virtual High 5s on social media using the hashtag #WADHigh5.