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Seeking treatment for signs of arthritis early can lead to better outcomes.
Arthritis is the most common disability in the United States, with more than 54.4 million, or 1 in 4, adults living from the condition. It is a leading cause of both workplace disability and chronic pain among individuals in the United States, and may even be linked todepressive symptoms, according to the CDC.1
The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has dedicated October 12, 2018 to raising awareness about arthritis and it’s debilitating impact, marking it as World Arthritis Day (WAD), according to a statement from the organization.2
The campaign theme for 2018, “Don’t Delay: Connect Today,” aims at promoting awareness of symptoms associated with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), highlighting the importance of early diagnosis, and advocating for better access to care. EULAR invites organizations throughout the world to use the ideas presented on the WAD website in creating national level events, in the statement.2
Patients don’t always recognize the initial signs of RMDs, which can lead to a delayed diagnosis, or none at all. Additionally, a reduced quality of life or diminishing physical abilities may prevent patients from seeking medical attention. Identifying an RMD early is crucial to preventing further damage, which is why the campaign focuses on improving early access to treatment, according to EULAR.2
Common symptoms for most RMDs that patients should look out for are pain and stiffness around one or more joints. Symptoms may come on suddenly or gradually over time, and they may come and go or persist over time. Risk factors for developing arthritis include being overweight or obese, having an infection in the joints, suffering from joint injuries, having a job that requires repetitive movement of the joints, and smoking, according to the CDC.1