ATLANTA, May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Arthritis Foundation is announcing a new multiyear public awareness campaign in conjunction with Arthritis Month this May to debunk the myths of arthritis. The Faces of Arthritis campaign will feature public service ads focusing on the harsh realities of arthritis and dispelling the common stereotypes often associated with the disease.
As the nation's leading cause of disability, arthritis affects 50 million people, one in five adults. Most people think arthritis is one disease, affects only old people and is due to "wear and tear" of the joints; however, arthritis affects all ages and is an umbrella term for more than 100 joint diseases that can affect the whole body, including organs.
"Arthritis is common, costly and painful, and people think that there is nothing you can do about it. Misconceptions around the disease contribute to millions living with arthritis pain and the persistent attitude of complacency toward the disease and its impact," says Arthritis Foundation Vice President of Public Health Policy and Advocacy, Dr. Patience White.
Face the Facts – Debunking the Myths
- Myth: Arthritis is a disease associated with aging. Fact: Arthritis can affect people of all ages. Two-thirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65 and some of the most serious forms of arthritis occur in teenagers or people in their 20s and 30s.
- Myth: Only old people get arthritis. Fact: Children get arthritis, too. Nearly 300,000 children are affected by arthritis.
- Myth: Knuckle cracking causes arthritis. Fact: Knuckle cracking can't trigger arthritis, but it can stretch tissue and lead to discomfort.
- Myth: Arthritis is just aches and pains. Fact: Arthritis is a more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes and causes work limitations for nearly one in three people in the U.S.
- Myth: Cold weather makes arthritis worse. Fact: There is no scientific evidence that a particular climate is better for people with arthritis, but changes in barometric pressure, often associated with inclement weather, may affect people with arthritis.
- Myth: There is nothing I can do about arthritis. I just have to "live with it." Fact: Early diagnosis and management can prevent the long term pain and disability seen with many kinds of arthritis.
- Myth: Arthritis is one disease. Fact: There are more than 100 types of arthritis and knowing what type you have makes a difference in how to treat it.
It's important to recognize the symptoms of arthritis early as many forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can cause irreversible joint damage, often within the first two years of the disease. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, can develop within 10 years of a major joint injury.
As part of the Faces of Arthritis campaign, the Arthritis Foundation encourages people to raise awareness of this serious disease.
Make a Difference
- Arthritis Walk – The Arthritis Walk is the Arthritis Foundation's nationwide team walk event that raises funds to fight arthritis. Companies, families and individuals are encouraged to participate in this event to raise money to help fund the mission of the Arthritis Foundation, which is to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. To sign up or to find an event in your area, visit www.arthritiswalk.org.
- Join the conversation – Use the #ArthritisMonth hash tag throughout the month of May to raise awareness and to learn more from people nationwide about the harsh realities of arthritis.
- Go interactive – Show that arthritis can affect anyone at any time by "placing your face" with the Faces of Arthritis interactive tool. Invite your community – constituents, family and friends – who care about arthritis to upload a picture of their face in the www.facesofarthritis.org photo gallery, along with a sharable 140-character message.
Face the facts. To learn more about arthritis and the Faces of Arthritis campaign, visit www.facesofarthritis.org.
About the Arthritis Foundation
Striking one in every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to raising awareness and reducing the unacceptable impact of this serious and painful disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest. The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions who live with arthritis; and partners with families to provide empowering programs and information.
SOURCE Arthritis Foundation