One in four adults have arthritis. In fact, arthritis is the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S. The economic implications are staggering, especially when you consider that many people with arthritis also have other chronic conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Of course, the personal tribulations of these 54 million people with arthritis is something that many of us deal with on a daily basis. Stiffness can lead to difficulty with daily tasks. Opening things like shampoo and those incredibly tiny caps on toothpaste that somehow weld themselves on become things that require adaptation or assistance. The inability to grip your spoon to stir you coffee…well, you can see the degree of frustration this creates, not to mention the physical pain that is sometimes constant.
If you have arthritis, the best thing to do is be an advocate for yourself and manage your care by working with your doctors. If you don’t have arthritis, that’s where Arthritis Aware Month comes into play. Educate yourself about the symptoms of arthritis and talk with family members or friends that might be suffering. (Early diagnosis and treatment is very important with arthritis.) If you know someone with arthritis, you can help support them by being knowledgeable about simple diet and exercise strategies that can help mitigate some symptoms or alleviate flares.
You might also consider taking part in a Walk to Cure Arthritis or Jingle Bell Run, both of which raise money for arthritis research through the Arthritis Foundation.