Arthritis Awareness – time for high 5s and hashtags!
With World Arthritis Day (WAD) coming up on October 12 and National Arthritis Week here in the UK between 12 and 18 October, it’s definitely time to throw a spotlight on this painful and often debilitating condition.
Arthritis affects many, many people
There are more than 200 different kinds of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the two most common forms of arthritis. The charity Arthritis Care says there are 10 million people living with arthritis in the UK. And across the European Union RMDs are known to affect more than 120 million people – that’s a quarter of the European population.
Although largely a condition affecting older people (see our article Arthritis in the elderly), arthritis can affect people of all ages, including children, and at present, there is no cure. In the UK, arthritis is the single biggest cause of physical disability and RMDs represent the fourth largest area of spending in the NHS.
World Arthritis Day 2015
World Arthritis Day (WAD) was established in 1996 by Arthritis and Rheumatism International and is supported by the European League Against Rheumatism. The aim is to raise awareness of the many issues affecting people with RMDs and to influence public policy.
The theme for this year’s WAD campaign is ‘It’s in your hands, take action’ and people are being encouraged to show their support by getting involved in a social media campaign, or by organising activities, such as discussion groups and leaflet distribution. More information on getting involved and the aims of the campaign can be found on the WAD Facebook page and on the WAD website. You can also follow updates on the WAD Twitter account.
Basically, you’re invited to write the name of someone you want to high 5 on the palm of your hand and upload the photo using the hashtag #WADHigh5 to Twitter or Instagram, with a personal message or a call for action. If you don’t have access to social media, you can upload a photo via the WAD website and it will be included in their gallery.
Time for Tea
To support WAD this year, Arthritis Care has been encouraging people to get involved by hosting ‘Time for Tea’ parties to raise funds and awareness. Celebrity chefs, such as Ainsley Harriott and Rachel Khoo, have donated exclusive special recipes to get people started. You can, of course, also follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook and are encouraged to use the hashtag #TimeForTea.
As well as campaigning on behalf of arthritis sufferers, Arthritis Care provides a wealth of information and resources on their website to help patients and their families, including useful factsheets.
Arthritis Care Week
The charity also runs Arthritis Care Week in May each year and organises a major survey called Arthritis Watch England, which gathers evidence about the status of NHS services to share with local health care decision makers.
National Arthritis Week, 12th-18th October
Arthritis Research UK is a charity that is committed to preventing arthritis, finding a cure, and to transforming the lives of those who currently live with the condition. The charity runs National Arthritis Day and the theme for 2015 is ‘Share Your Day Shape Our Future’.
The charity wants people to share the challenges and triumphs they face living with arthritis on social media and these experiences will be used to guide the research to be funded in 2016. People are encouraged to share their stories via the website and via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #shareyourday #myarthritisstory.
Here’s a short YouTube clip of one person’s story:
So, hashtags at the ready? Looks like October is going to be a busy month. Don’t forget to share your views with us on Facebook too!
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