The Arthritis Foundation reports that America must become more aware of arthritis and effort must be made to reduce its impact on society. In a “National Report Card” evaluating arthritis in America, “C’s” were given for America’s understanding of arthritis and for physicians’ use of a comprehensive approach for arthritis treatment. A “D” was given for Americans’ ability to access appropriate medical care.
The Arthritis Foundation Report Card showed most Americans still believe that arthritis affects only the elderly, that nothing can be done for arthritis and that it only involves minor aches and pains. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of individuals who have chronic joint pain have not been diagnosed and up to 57% of those patients diagnosed are not currently receiving treatment. Many studies evaluating the practice patterns of primary care physicians report that they do not use a comprehensive approach in treating arthritis patients and many are unaware of the full spectrum of treatments options, including recent and more aggressive strategies. For many, the cost and access to medications, adequate health insurance as well as appropriate physician referrals create an inability to obtain appropriate and comprehensive health care.
In response to these findings, the Arthritis Foundation is sponsoring Arthritis Action Day on Tuesday May 18th. The goal of this day is to raise the awareness and dispel the myths about arthritis in hope of getting Americans to take action. Across the country, the chapters and branches of the foundation will host a variety of events and activities to promote education and motivation for arthritis patients to take an active role in their health care. Contact your local Arthritis Foundation Chapter for more information.