Throughout May, the Arthritis Foundation urges taking action to change the course of arthritis. From participating in a nearby Walk to Cure Arthritis event, to improving your health through fitness and nutrition, to speaking out about the seriousness of arthritis – there’s a lot you can do to raise awareness and reduce the impact of the nation’s leading cause of disability.
Arthritis is a crippling disease that impacts more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children – or approximately 22 percent of the United States population. The disease costs the U.S. economy $128 billion dollars a year, and is a more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
Facts About Arthritis
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.
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.
“Arthritis poses a serious threat to individuals, to businesses and to the economy as a whole,” says Arthritis Foundation president and CEO, Ann M. Palmer. “Our goal at the Arthritis Foundation is to remove the burden of arthritis entirely through a cure, but we understand that people need help to live better right now.”
The Arthritis Foundation has invested more than $400 million on research to support more than 1,300 scientists, physicians and health professionals involved in cutting-edge arthritis research. Dr. Michelle Ormseth is a recipient of a research grant funded by the Arthritis Foundation.
“Our research group at Vanderbilt, under the leadership of Dr. Mike Stein, is interested in understanding why patients with RA have double the risk of heart disease. This increased heart disease risk in RA is a major contributor to the three to eighteen year shorter life expectancy seen in RA. The usual risk factors that predict risk of having a heart attack aren’t as helpful in patients with RA. For example, HDL, the “good cholesterol” which helps remove cholesterol from the body, is not helpful in many patients who have RA. One of our goals is to determine how HDL changes so that it increases rather than decreases heart disease risk in some patients with RA. We will use this information to find ways to restore HDL’s protective capabilities. This will help serve our ultimate goal to reduce heart disease risk and extend the lives of patients with RA,” explained Dr. Michelle Ormseth.
For more information about Arthritis Foundation programs, services and events in your local area, contact our office at 866-227-3850 toll free.
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 impact of this serious, painful and unacceptable 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.
Make a Difference
• Walk to Cure Arthritis – Formerly Arthritis Walk, Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation’s signature event to raise funds to prevent, control and cure the nation’s leading cause of disability. Funds raised through the event support Arthritis Foundation programs, research and advocacy initiatives to help people live better today while finding a cure for the number one cause of disability in the United States tomorrow. To sign up or to find an event in your area, visit www.arthritiswalk.org.
• Take Action – Sign up to be an Arthritis E-Advocate or Ambassador. Visit www.arthritis.org/advocacy to get plugged-in and start speaking out against arthritis to your Members of Congress.
• Exercise – Keep excess pounds at bay and take pressure off your joints with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Try to replace less nutritious food with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Track and React® is an arthritis wellness app to help you on your way.
• Share Your Story – 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. To learn more about arthritis and the Faces of Arthritis campaign, visit www.facesofarthritis.org.