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Canadians need to know how serious arthritis really is

September is Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis affects more Canadians than any other chronic condition, yet is it is simply not understood well enough or taken seriously. Unlike other diseases, arthritis is not believed to be life-altering. The Arthritis Society wants to change that perception.

The numbers are alarming. Today, there are over 6 million people in Canada living with arthritis – that’s 1 in 5 – and in just over 15 years, those numbers will grow by another 2.5 million people.

Arthritis is a disease that swells and stiffens the moveable joints in the body, and can cause irreversible damage. The inflammation it causes can also affect internal organs and eyesight, and can contribute to pre-mature death. There is no cure and for many types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis (the most common form) there are not enough effective drug therapies to manage the symptoms. This means people live in pain, often severe, and are limited or disabled in their ability to go about day-to-day living. According to a recent report developed by the Arthritis Community Research Evaluation Unit (ACREU) for the Arthritis Society, people living with arthritis are more likely to battle with pain, poor mental and physical health, and an inability to stay employed.

Quite simply, Canadians, those that might be prone to arthritis, and those who may have already been diagnosed, need to better understand the consequences of having the disease and be more proactive in their health management.

To help address this problem, the Arthritis Society is unveiling two new major patient resources available at arthritis.ca. Firstly, Canadians are encouraged to take the Symptom Checker, to validate if they may have the disease, and to then consult their physician. Secondly, for those experiencing the disease, the new Self-Advocacy Guide to be released later in September, will seek to help people with arthritis learn how to be their own arthritis champion when working with their health care provider.

“Self-advocacy is an important part of the patient journey,” says Janet Yale, president and CEO of the Arthritis Society. “We want people to be aware that they may have arthritis and they don’t even know it yet. Our innovative patient resources have been developed with the input of experts in the field, to help Canadians better understand this disease, and what they can do to help themselves before and after a visit with their doctor.”

Fortunately, there are many ways that people living with arthritis can seek to manage the symptoms. Massage therapy is one of those ways. On September 22 and 23, Massage Addict clinics across the country are partnering with the Arthritis Society for Hands on for Arthritis – a weekend long event where Massage Addict generously donates $5 from every massage to the Arthritis Society to help fund cutting-edge arthritis research and innovative treatments. To find a location near you, visit their website.

New research is vital to understanding the causes of arthritis and focuses on developing new treatment methods, with the hopes of one day finding a cure. The Arthritis Society honours and provides funding to the best and brightest young minds currently working towards becoming the next generation of arthritis researchers in Canada. Arthritis Society Research Training Awards will be presented in September to these highly deserving individuals. The Arthritis Society would like to congratulate its 2018 recipients:

Graduate PhD Salary Awards

  • Yann Becker, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec – Université Laval
  • Mable Wing Yan Chan, University of Toronto
  • Luiza Grazziotin, University of Calgary
  • Carly Jones, University of British Columbia
  • Graham Macdonald, University of British Columbia
  • Kevin Robb, University Health Network – Krembil Research Institute
  • Suzanne Salti, Centre de recherche du CHUM
  • Brian Rai-Ling Wu, University Health Network – Krembil Research Institute
  • Meital Yerushalmi, University Health Network – Krembil Research Institute

Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

  • Dr. Shabana Ali, University Health Network – Krembil Research Institute
  • Dr. Vidyanand Anaparti, University of Manitoba
  • Dr. Jasmin Ma, University of British Columbia – Arthritis Research Canada

Visit arthritis.ca or follow the Arthritis Society on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn throughout Arthritis Awareness Month this September, and all year long, for more important announcements.

About the Arthritis Society

The Arthritis Society is a national health charity, fueled by donors and volunteers, with a vision to live in a world where people are free from the devastating effects that arthritis has on lives. Beginning in 1948 with one very clear goal – to alleviate the suffering of people crippled by arthritis – that same volunteer-led passion carries on today in communities across Canada. Through the trust and support of our donors and sponsors, the Arthritis Society is Canada’s largest charitable source of investments in cutting-edge arthritis research, proactive advocacy and innovative solutions that will deliver better health outcomes for people affected by arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information and to donate, visit arthritis.ca.

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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Alicia D’Aguiar
Senior Specialist, National Communications
Arthritis Society
416-979-7228 ext. 3354
647-883-2477

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