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4 things people with arthritis want you to know

4 things people with arthritis want you to know

4 things people with arthritis want you to know

It is estimated that more than 3.3 million Australians are living with arthritis, but that arthritis is a widely misunderstood condition.

According to Naomi Creek, an arthritis patient advocate and national coordinator of CreakyJoints Australia, “Arthritis is actually a blanket term that encompasses a range of conditions including osteoarthritis — which involves a wearing down of the joints — and rheumatoid arthritis, a serious and sometimes debilitating, autoimmune disease which attacks joints, tissues, and sometimes organs,” she explains.

Speaking on behalf of thousands of CreakyJoints Australia members, Creek revealed the following four misconceptions that patients of arthritis want Australians to know this World Arthritis Day:

  1. Arthritis is not an old person’s disease. For example, Naomi was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at the age of 12. In fact, 1 in every 1000 children aged 0-15 years is affected by arthritis.
  2. Living with arthritis does not just mean you have a sore knee. It is a misconception that arthritis is simply associated with minor aches and pains. The pain some days can be excruciating and debilitating. The daily reality of arthritis often includes joint damage, inflammation, fatigue, and limited range of motion.
  3. Take potential arthritis symptoms seriously. If you have a lingering problem — that knee or knuckle is just not getting better over several months, or if you have multiple symptoms such as ongoing fatigue, inflammation, or joint stiffness — please see your doctor immediately. With timely treatment, many types of arthritis can be well managed by a specialist called a rheumatologist.
  4. Myth: You look fine, so you must be fine. The disease can vary so much that it is often difficult for friends and family members to understand why arthritis patients feel better or worse. The inconsistency can often lead some people to believe that “it’s all in your head.” Patients would like more understanding, support, and flexibility from friends, families, and employers.
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