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​World Arthritis Day is back to help raise awareness, influence public policy and to otherwise provide support to the 350 million people worldwide who suffer from rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease.

Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)  is joining the 'The Future in your Hands' campaign in encouraging businesses to host and take part in World Arthritis Day activities as well as urging rheumatic and musculoskeletal sufferers  to share their personal stories via both the World Arthritis Day website and through social media using the #WADStory hashtag.

Arthritis as a term can refer to a number of related rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions affecting the joints in the body and causing pain and stiffness. While most often associated with older people, arthritis is known to also affect children. 10 million people are estimated to suffer from arthritis in the UK. 

Dr Marc Rowland, local GP and Chair of Lewisham CCG, said: "While there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available that can slow the disease and minimise the severity of symptoms."

"For this reason an accurate and timely diagnosis is important for anyone suffering from chronic joint pain, inflammation and restricted movement of the joints."

While there are many forms of arthritis, the two most common types of the condition include:

  • Osteoathritis – the most common type, osteoarthritis usually develops in adults in their late 40s or older, and symptoms tend to include pain and stiffness in the joints, making movement difficult. As cartilage lining deteriorates, extra pressure on tendons and ligaments lead to swelling and can cause bones to rub against each other.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – less common overall but three more times likely to affect women than men, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks joints, causing similar symptoms as osteoarthritis but can also potentially lead to problems elsewhere in the body.

For anyone concerned about arthritis, please use the NHS post code search to find arthritis services in your area.

Alternatively, further useful information can be found at NHS Choices arthritis page and the living with arthritis page, as well as on Arthritis UK's website.

You can follow World Arthritis Day's  Facebook page, Twitter profile, or Instagram account for up-to-date information on activities related to October 12.