The Arthritis Society's Arthritis Awareness Month has been generously sponsored by:
This year, The Arthritis Society is debunking the myths surrounding arthritis and urging all Canadians to take notice of this disease, which is a leading cause of disability in Canada.
Myths About Arthritis:
Myth #1 - “Arthritis is one disease.”
There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Some types of arthritis are caused by joint inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. The most prevalent type of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA), which progresses when cartilage, the material covering and protecting the ends of bones, begins to wear away and results in joint dysfunction.
Myth #2 – “Arthritis is just aches and pains.”
Among all causes of disability in Canada, arthritis ranks first among women and second among men. Severe joint pain and inflammation, as well as fatigue, are common symptoms of arthritis. Arthritis can inhibit daily activities most take for granted, such as getting dressed, opening a door or holding a fork.
Myth #3 – “Arthritis is a disease of the elderly.”
Arthritis can strike anyone at any time, regardless of age, physical condition or ethnic background. Of the 4.6 million Canadians with arthritis, about 60 per cent are of working age. Approximately 61,500 Canadian babies, toddlers, children and young adults live with the intense pain and disability of arthritis. Children’s arthritis is nearly as common, or more common than, other well-known chronic childhood illnesses, such as leukemia, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and cystic fibrosis.
Myth # 4 – “Arthritis is not costly.”
Reports estimate that arthritis may cost the Canadian economy more than $33 billion annually in health-care expenses and lost work days. Over a quarter of men and women with arthritis, between the ages of 25 and 44 years, are not in the workforce. The problem is expected to get worse. In fact, within 30 years it is projected that a new diagnosis of OA will occur every minute, meaning that 30 per cent of the labour force will have difficulty working.