How poetic, selecting October 12, a day of controversy, as World Arthritis Day!
Controversy? Yes. The story goes that October 12, 1492, was when Christopher Columbus became the first European to arrive in the Americas. Except that Scandinavia is part of Europe, and the vikings had been to North America long before Columbus ever dreamed up his trip, so Columbus wasn’t the first European. Since there were already people in the places that Columbus “discovered,” it’s hard to say that his was much of a discovery at all.
It’s ironic that the same date, October 12, was selected as World Arthritis Day – Do Blue campaign, where people are encouraged to wear blue to support arthritis awareness. I laughed when I heard that the purpose of the arthritis awareness campaign is to raise awareness of osteoarthritis! Why does OA need more visibility? When you say the word “arthritis,” people assume OA. Even if you specify RA, people hear “OA.” Last time I checked, OA’s visibility was doing just fine.
Consequently, it was with a sense of delight that I learned the autoimmune community adopted the same date to talk about the differences in types of arthritis. The International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement’s newsletter asks everyone to help spread the word:
On October 12th, it’s World “Arthritis” Day. IAAM puts the word “arthritis” in quotations to highlight
the fact that over the years the word has become a generic term for all strands of arthritis. This has
led to a gross misunderstanding that ALL arthritis can be treated by over-the-counter medications or
simple diet adjustments (see example below), that ALL arthritis is merely joint pain and that ALL
arthritis is caused by old age, wear and tear, or injury. In fact, seven out of over 100 types of
arthritis are classified as Autoimmune Arthritis diseases, which are serious, systemic
diseases that involve the whole body, including organ involvement. Although Autoimmune
Arthritis can occur at any age, because it is brought on by problems within the immune system, it
typically occurs between the ages of 0-40.
Example of the difference:
How Can You Help?
First, please forward the e-newsletter to every person you know. Explaining that there is a difference
is half the battle!
Next, click on the link to find out more about the differences between “arthritis” (OA) and “autoimmune
Finally, if you are so inclined, purchase one of the awareness items from IAAM’s website. Arthritis
is not “just an old person’s disease.” We are working toward global awareness.
You are invited to be a part of changing the face of “arthritis” by clicking through to the International
Autoimmune Arthritis Movement‘s website.
IAAM, the first nonprofit in history that focuses exclusively on the seven Autoimmune Arthritis diseases,
is asking you to participate in this global awareness event by forwarding and posting this newsletter and,
if possible, purchasing one of the 3 awareness designs shown on the publication. These items can be
purchased by visiting the IAAM website at www.IAAMovement.org. (The awareness designs range from
$5-15 with 100% of the proceeds donated to IAAM to create future awareness programs).
As always, I have received no compensation for this post.
If you read the Arthritis Foundation’s link for this event, there’s no question that their vision for WAD is all about OA. The American College of Rheumatology’s page is even clearer. Let’s hijack WAD and help spread the word that there are many different kinds of arthritis!