12th October of every year is observed as World Arthritis Day. This is to raise awareness about arthritis amongst patients and the general public. Arthritis affects the vast majority of people worldwide and is a major cause of suffering and disability. Arthritis societies world over, have come together to raise awareness about rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases on this day.
There are more than 100 to 150 types of arthritis. People of all age groups, including children can be affected by Arthritis. Certain types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis affect women more commonly than men. Whereas, ankylosing spondylitis, which affects the spine, is more common in men. Arthritis can be chronic, severely disabling and cause deformities if not diagnosed and treated promptly. Not only does it affect their quality of life and social life, but it may also lead to sickness absenteeism, loss of pay, and hence cause a huge economic burden to family and society. Certain types of arthritis also reduce life expectancy due to associated increased cardiovascular risks. Hence, there clearly is a need for observing world arthritis day.
There has been a tremendous amount of research in the field of rheumatology in the past 2-3 decades. This has led to the development of targeted drugs called biologic drugs which work much more effectively than traditional drugs. Rheumatologists stay abreast with recent developments in the field and are the right doctors to consult for treatment of all autoimmune rheumatic diseases. A lot of research continues to be done in the field to come up with a more effective, easily available and affordable treatment to patients.