World Arthritis Day
- To raise awareness of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases among sufferers, the public and the medical professions
- To change policy set by decision makers by making them aware of the consequences of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases and what needs to be done to help ease the burden
- To publicise the vast support network that is available to all people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases
What is arthritis?
Symptoms of arthritis include:
- Painful, stiff joints
- Swelling in and around joints
- Restricted movement
- Warm, red skin over affected joints
- Weakness and muscle wastage
- Loss of cartilage, ligaments and bone
- Osteophytes (a bony projection caused by degeneration of cartilage)
There are two main types of arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form in the UK, with around 9 million people with the condition, and tends to affect women more than men. Osteoarthritis mainly affects hands, the spine, knees and hips and causes the cartilage lining the joint to roughen and thin, causing pain, swelling and osteophytes.
Rheumatoid arthritis is less common, affecting approximately 400,000 in the UK and women are three times more likely to develop the condition than men. This type of arthritis is a result of the immune system mistakenly attacking the joints, leading to pain, inflammation and a break down of cartilage and bone. People with rheumatoid arthritis also have a higher risk of developing other problems with their tissue and organs.