May Is Arthritis Awareness Month: How To Participate

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and it’s a time dedicated to learning more about the disease and listening to stories from those living with arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, one-out-of-five American adults live with arthritis, with an estimated 53 million people diagnosed with arthritis nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has partnered with other government and national organizations to raise awareness.

The arthritis 2016 campaign is called “See Arthritis” and it focuses on people sharing their personal stories through social media networks and other avenues. Those who don’t suffer from arthritis are encouraged to read stories from those living with the condition. Many people nationwide are participating in creating awareness by using the hashtag #seearthritis on Twitter and Facebook.

Seamus Mullen’s life changed after his rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis. #SeeArthritis

— ArthritisNY (@ArthritisNY) May 19, 2016

Some Twitter users are using the twibbon app to turn their profile pictures green in support for the #seearthritis campaign for Arthritis Awareness Month.

Arthritis may be defined as inflammation of the joints. It is most prevalent in working-age adults (between the ages of 18-64) but may occur in children. There are several types of arthritis and each is debilitating and can rob sufferers of their quality of life. Common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis may occur following an injury to a joint, overuse of a joint or due to an underlying illness. Other arthritis types include juvenile arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and infectious arthritis. Arthritis may also be associated with conditions such as lupus. The Arthritis Foundation has an extensive listing of the various types of arthritis.

One of the simplest ways to participate in Arthritis Awareness Month is to visit the social media #SeeArthritis page on the Arthritis Foundation website. The social media page has updates, tweets and is a one-stop resource for those who would like to read and learn more about arthritis. The social media page acts as a hub and links Twitter and Instagram posts in one spot.

While many people with arthritis may be tempted to remain inactive due to the amount of pain and stiffness they feel, it has been shown that physical activity and exercise will help reduce arthritis symptoms. The CDC is hoping that arthritis sufferers will take Arthritis Awareness Month as a jumping start for physical activity. According to the CDC, walking is one of the best exercises arthritis sufferers can engage in.

“Walking is recommended — All adults, including adults with arthritis, should get 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) per week and do muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week. If you take brisk walks for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you will meet the aerobic activity recommendations from the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.”

The CDC also states that if you can’t engage in 30 minutes of continuous exercise, that you can break up the workout into three, 10-minute increments and still gain the same benefits.

Creating a dialogue around arthritis is important due to the amount of people who currently suffer from the chronic disease and those who will develop arthritis in the future. If you suspect you have arthritis, speak to your health care provider immediately. There are many methods used to treat arthritis and hopefully reduce the amount of pain you experience, while increasing your enjoyment of life.

[Photo by One Photo/Shutterstock]