Health Watch
  • World Arthritis Day (WAD) is celebrated annually on 12th October.
  • The theme for the year 2016 is ‘The Future in Your Hands, Take Action’.
  • It is a social media campaign inviting people worldwide to share their personal stories on coping with arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases, on social media.
  • This initiative hopes to educate and spread awareness about the disease to general public as well as other persons afflicted with the disease.

World Arthritis Day - How it Began

The World Arthritis Day (WAD) was founded in the year 1996 by Arthritis and Rheumatism International. Presently, it is supported by EULAR, the European League Against Rheumatism, and observed as an annual event on the 12th of October every year.

It aims to educate and spread awareness about this potentially crippling disease amongst the general public, as well as health professionals, caregivers, policy makers and more importantly, to inspire persons suffering from the disease to lead a normal and more productive life.
World Arthritis Day 2016 - ‘The Future in Your Hands, Take Action’

The Future in Your Hands, Take Action - Theme for WAD 2016

The global theme for the year 2016, 'The Future in Your Hands, Take Action', has been launched as a social media campaign inviting people worldwide to share their personal inspirational stories on social media, hoping to spread global awareness and educate people about this disease.

Persons wishing to share their story about living with and overcoming rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease, and inspire others may do so as follows
  • Taking a photo or an video that includes their hands signifying 'taking action'.
  • Sharing their story on social media using #WADStory and tag World Arthritis Day in their Facebook posts.
Important Facts About Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMD's)
  • Arthritis and related diseases affect over 120 million persons in the European Union alone.
  • In the developed nations, RMD's affect more persons than any other disease group, and almost every family is affected in some manner or the other.
  • These diseases can affect persons of any age or gender, including young children and babies. In the US, almost 300000 children and teenagers live with one type of juvenile arthritis or the other. Shockingly, arthritis is the sixth most commonly diagnosed childhood disease.
  • Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases are categorised as inflammatory and non-inflammatory.
The common non-inflammatory RMDs include osteoarthritis, degenerative spine diseases, fibromyalgia and osteoporosis.

The common inflammatory RMDs are rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, connective tissue diseases and polymyalgia rheumatica.

Coping With Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases

Arthritis and related diseases can be painful and potentially crippling. It may cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms including
  • Joint swelling, redness, and/or warmth
  • Nagging muscle and joint pain
  • Extreme fatigue, lack of energy, tiredness and weakness
  • Stiffness of joints causing restricted mobility
  • Joint deformities and muscle contractures
  • Depression and anxiety due to the illness
Living and Coping with Arthritis

Some of the ways of living and coping with arthritis include
  • Pain Management - Pain can be managed with medications, alternative therapies such as yoga and acupuncture, maintaining a healthy weight, braces and self-help devices. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve intractable pain.
  • Following a Suitable Exercise Regimen - Exercise and movement help the joints remain flexible and keep the muscles strong.
  • Joining a support group as a volunteer will take one's mind off the disease, get inspired by others and to inspire others too. Participating in the 'Future in your hands, take action', may be one way of understanding as well as creating awareness about arthritis.
  • Family support is critical in helping to alleviate both physical and mental pain. According to Saint Augustine, 'The greatest evil is physical pain'.
Global Impact of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases

Arthritis is a progressive and debilitating disease. It is very common in the developed nations, and makes a huge global impact. Some of these include
  • Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases are the commonest cause of sick leave from employment and premature retirement.
  • Osteoarthritis is the commonest cause of disability among the elderly.
  • Arthritis affects women more and can disrupt their ability to work and care for the family.
  • Huge burden on global healthcare costs.
  • Some forms of the disease may reduce life expectancy, if not treated.
Organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation are leading in the fight against this crippling disease and helping people and their families to be able to lead a fuller and more productive life.

We, individuals can also contribute and make a difference. After all, "Tiny drops make the mighty ocean'. Let us join the 'The Future in Your Hands, Take Action' social campaign and make a difference.

References :
  1. World Arthritis Day Unites Patients and Caregivers of All Ages - (
  2. World Arthritis Day 2016 General Information - (
  3. Oct 12 is World Arthritis Day - (
  4. Information on World Arthritis Day 2015 and 2016 - (
  5. It's in Your Hands Take Action - (
Source: Medindia

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