American College of Rheumatology Campaign Highlights Devastating Impact of Rheumatic Diseases

-- Over 7 million Americans affected by rheumatic diseases

-- Simple Tasks campaign highlights it's more than 'aches and pains'

-- Campaign and Capitol Hill Advocates turn spotlight on rheumatology

Sep 19, 2011, 08:00 ET from The American College of Rheumatology

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The American College of Rheumatology launches its Simple Tasks campaign today ( The initiative aims to raise awareness of the severe impact of rheumatic diseases – such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and gout – on the U.S. population and to highlight the importance of rheumatologists in the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.

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Rheumatic diseases are not just aches and pains or a normal part of aging. Over seven million American women, men and children are affected by these diseases, which often strike in the prime of life and can cause inflammation and damage to joints and other organs of the body, the development of co-existing diseases, disability and even death.  

"Despite millions of Americans suffering their consequences, many people still know very little about rheumatic diseases," says David Borenstein, MD, president of the ACR. "The Simple Tasks campaign explains that straightforward everyday tasks can quickly become overwhelming, painful and impossible as a result of a rheumatic disease. We're working to educate those who make decisions that affect rheumatology about the severity of these diseases and the importance of early and appropriate treatment by a rheumatologist."

More specifically, the Simple Tasks campaign aims to:

  1. Educate lawmakers, administration officials, referring physicians/physician groups and others who influence rheumatology about the value of rheumatology and the role rheumatologists play in helping the millions of Americans with rheumatic diseases
  2. Explain how treatment within the 'window of opportunity' – the first few weeks and months after disease symptoms appear – can diminish long-term complications
  3. Champion the rheumatology profession

The campaign is launching in conjunction with the College's annual Advocates for Arthritis ( lobbying fly-in on Capitol Hill. Over the next two days rheumatologists, rheumatology health professionals and their patients will meet with key legislators and policymakers to discuss the goals of the Simple Tasks campaign and to share with Capitol Hill their experiences of living with, and treating, rheumatic diseases.

"By reaching out to these influential groups and people with a campaign based on scientific research and personal experiences of patients and rheumatologists, we can make our case that the rheumatology profession is a vital component in today's health care landscape," explains Eric Matteson, MD, rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and chair of the ACR's communications and marketing committee. "Rheumatologists are uniquely trained and are advancing the medical field – positively impacting the health and quality of life of those with rheumatic diseases as well as relieving stress on their families, caregivers, employers and society as a whole."

To find out more about Simple Tasks:

About the American College of Rheumatology

The American College of Rheumatology is an international professional medical society that represents more than 8,000 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals around the world. For more information about the ACR, visit or follow the ACR on Twitter at

SOURCE The American College of Rheumatology