THE REALITY

Arthritis isn't

just a gradual

condition of aging

 

Arthritis wrist pain

It impacts more people than you’d think.

 

The illusion to most is that arthritis only impacts the elderly and is merely "just joint pain."

 

Arthritis can come into anyone’s life. At any time, any age, in any place in any form.

 

This isn't just a word used to describe "stiffness" or "inflammation of the joints." Arthritis is a term used to describe over 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions involving joint health. 

 

The pain in joints is merely a portion, a symptom, of what lasting impact these conditions have on the host body.

 

More specific to this project, how rheumatoid arthritis is impacting the lives of those in Canada is also considered in the chart below. 

 

 

 

 

 

How is arthritis impacting Canadians?

 

 

  • 1 out of 6 Canadians is living with arthritis.

 

  • Over 4.6 million Canadian adults (15 years and older) report having arthritis.

 

  • By 2036, this number is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million Canadian adults, to 1 in 5 Canadians.

 

  • The impact of arthritis on the Canadian economy in health-care costs and lost productivity is estimated to be $33 billion each year.

 

  • By 2031, this number is expected to more than double to over $67 billion.

 

  • Among all causes of disability in Canada, arthritis ranks first among women and third among men.

 

  • Two out of three Canadians affected by arthritis are women.

 

  • Nearly three out of every five people with arthritis are of working age.

 

  • 60 per cent of Canadians with arthritis are between the ages of 15 and 60.

 

What about rheumatoid arthritis?

 

 

  • More than 600,000 Canadians live with inflammatory arthritis.

 

  • 1 in 100 adult Canadians is living with RA.

 

  • RA affects women three times more often than men.

 

  • RA can affect any joint, but those most commonly affected are: Small joints of the hands and feet, wrists, elbows, knees, shoulders and ankles.

 

  • Some people can develop the disease because of genetic risk factors, but having the gene does not mean you will necessarily develop the disease.

 

  • Infection and immune system impacts can trigger RA in people who are genetically predisposed to it.

 

 

Managing Misconceptions

 

Regardless of the wealth of information available through these great causes, there was an opportunity to talk to members of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA). 

 

CAPA is a collection of individuals who are living with arthritis and working to help increase awareness about the realities of the disease in its many forms. Those involved are working across Canada to link Canadians living with arthritis to their support systems.

 

Of the nine members of the steering committee, one is a man and the rest are women.  Of the women on the board for CAPA, the majority are living with RA, the form of arthritis that is most common among women yet the least understood among the general public.

 

As RA is an autoimmune disease, few understand that age or overuse of joints, which are common symptoms in the widely known form of osteoarthritis diagnoses, are not factors in this form of arthrits. Each day, these women are faced with the misconceptions about the form of arthritis they are living with.

 

 

 

 

 

By Veronica Pocza

As RA is an autoimmune disease, few understand that age or overuse of joints, which are common symptoms in the widely known form of osteoarthritis diagnoses, are not factors in this form of arthrits. Each day, these women are faced with the misconceptions about the form of arthritis they are living with.

 

In their motto, the CAPA says everyone “must understand that arthritis is not 'just arthritis', it is not 'just aches and pains' and it is not 'just an old people’s disease'. It is a collection of debilitating diseases any one of which can occur from early childhood to very old age.”

 

 

Pain is just one symptom of arthritis.  

Photo courtesy of pittaayurveda.com

 

Women from the Canadian Patient Arthritis Alliance talk about their experiences living with arthritis and the misconceptions associated with their condition. 

 

As advocates for the cause and patients themselves, these women offer a unique perspective on the reality of living with arthritis.

 

To read about two women who are managing misconceptions on a daily basis,

see the story of Madeline Fuller and the story of Valerie Vine.

At a glance, statistics collected  from The Arthritis Soceity and Joint Health.org, a network founded by Arthritis Consumer Experts Canada (ACE) summarize how arthritis is impacting the lives of those in Canada.