Arthritis affects 10 million people in the UK. That’s as many as one in six of us. It doesn’t discriminate by age, and can affect anyone – including children. It’s not just one condition either – there are over 200 different forms of arthritis-related conditions… yet so many people still don’t understand the implications of ‘arthritis’. This is why we all need to unite, so that we can defy arthritis -together.

Versus Arthritis recently launched a bold, new nationwide campaign to show the true scale and impact of arthritis on people of all ages, all across the country. We need to start a national conversation about arthritis to make it better understood and recognised as a priority. By doing so, we can empower people with arthritis to ask for help and get the support and treatment they deserve.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis affects 10 million people in the UK. That’s as many as one in six of us. The word ‘arthritis’ is used to describe pain, swelling and stiffness in a joint or joints. However, arthritis isn’t a single condition and there are several different types – in fact, there are more than 200 different arthritis-related conditions. Everyone’s experience is different, but half of people with arthritis live in pain every single day. It can often steal the ability to work, have a family, move freely, and live without constant pain.

It’s not just a bit of pain

Sadly, society generally shrugs ‘arthritis’ off as inevitable, untreatable and “just a bit of pain”. It means many people with arthritis hide their pain and feel like they can’t ask for the support and treatment they need and deserve. It shouldn’t be like this. That’s why we must mount an opposition, so that people with arthritis are no longer invisible and ignored. Across the UK, people are declaring themselves Versus Arthritis and sharing their experiences. Share yours to make sure that arthritis is no longer ignored.

Will you declare yourself Versus Arthritis?

We all play an important part in raising awareness. Whether you take part in an interview on television, write an article, retweet a message, or simply speak to a fellow commuter on the train – every act of raising awareness will make a different.

“While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.”

Be sure to follow Versus Arthritis on social media, and get involved in raising awareness – you are, and will make a difference.

I’m Versus Arthritis – are you?

Visit www.versusarthritis.org for more information, including access to information, support and how to get involved.

Written by simonrstones

Simon R. Stones BSc (Hons) is an award-winning patient advocate, consultant and researcher from Manchester in the UK, who was the winner of the international WEGO Health Award for Patient Healthcare Collaborator in 2017. He is a passionate advocate and ambassador for people living with invisible illnesses, inspired and empowered by his own journey with juvenile arthritis, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory bowel disease since childhood. He is currently an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a trustee of Fibromyalgia Action UK and RAiISE, and board member of the European Network for Children with Arthritis (ENCA) and the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA).

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