ACCORDING to a recent poll conducted by The Arthritis Society, one-third of Canadians do not believe that joint pain is a health priority and close to half still believe that joint pain primarily affects older Canadians.
These and other stigmas surrounding arthritis have far-reaching implications for all Canadians, including costing our economy almost $33 billion annually in health-care expenses and lost work days., according to a written statement from the society.
This September, as part of Arthritis Awareness Month, The Arthritis Society is launching a campaign to debunk several myths associated with the disease in order to reduce the impact of arthritis on all Canadians. The campaign will kick-off with a free public forum in North Vancouver, which will be run by three partnering organizations - The Arthritis Society, Lions Gate Hospital Arthritis Clinic and the Osteoarthritis Service Integration System (OASIS).
One of the biggest myths out there, is that arthritis is an "old person's" disease, says Joan Vyner of The Arthritis Society, in the statement. Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in Canada, impacting people from two to 92 years old.
Led by Dr. Simon Huang, a rheumatologist, the forum will look at the many types of arthritis, how the diseases are diagnosed and treated, as well as debunk several of the myths involved. Participants are encouraged to bring their questions as there will also be a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Catherine Dewar.
This is a great opportunity for people living with the disease to gain a real understanding of how devastating it can be and what they can do about it, says Vyner. Not only can arthritis inhibit daily activities most take for granted, such as getting dressed, opening a door or holding a fork, it also impacts people in the workplace.
The forum will be held Thursday, Sept. 6, from 6: 30 to 8: 30 p.m. in the Lions Gate Hospital gym. Register by phoning 604-714-5550.