Tuesday, October 12, 2010

World Arthritis Day on Oct. 12 Calls for Americans to 'Do Blue' and Take Action Against Nation's Most Common Cause of Disability

/PRNewswire/ -- In observance of World Arthritis Day, the Arthritis Foundation is calling on Americans to "Do Blue" on Tues., Oct. 12. From dressing head to toe with blue (hair) dos to blue shoes – and everything in between – to lighting up national monuments in blue, the effort aims to raise awareness of arthritis in all its forms and to urge the nation and individuals to take action to reduce the impact of the most common cause of disability in the U.S.

"World Arthritis Day is about people joining together and mobilizing to fight arthritis, a disabling disease that affects 50 million people in the U.S. and hundreds of millions around the world," says Arthritis Foundation President and CEO Dr. John H. Klippel.

Observed every year on Oct. 12 since 1996, World Arthritis Day is part of a global awareness initiative by the United Nations-endorsed Bone and Joint Decade. This year's theme is "Let's Work Together." A key aim is to increase awareness of the 100+ forms of arthritis and to call on individuals and policymakers to take action to reduce the burden of arthritis.

"Arthritis exacts a hefty financial toll, costing the U.S. economy $128 billion annually," says Klippel. "As the staggering prevalence of arthritis continues to rise, we must as a nation and as individuals take action to reduce the severe health and economic effects of this disease."

Action Against Arthritis

To encourage all Americans to take simple steps that will prevent or decrease the pain and disability of arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation is launching several initiatives in support of World Arthritis Day and as an extension of the Fight Arthritis Pain campaign that launched in February in partnership with the Ad Council.

* Walk Around the World – Moving is the best medicine for fighting arthritis pain. Help the Arthritis Foundation raise awareness as we collectively walk 24,900 miles, the circumference of the earth, between now and Oct. 31. Visit www.fightarthritispain.org/worldarthritisday to learn more and record your steps.

* Do Blue for Arthritis – The Arthritis Foundation is encouraging Americans to "Do Blue" in observance of World Arthritis Day. This involves anything from lighting up national landmarks in blue, like Niagara Falls, to wearing blue shoes and other apparel. On this day our voices will be heard and we will be seen as well.

* "Ask-the-Experts" Twitter Party – Get answers to your questions about managing and treating osteoarthritis. The Arthritis Foundation, in partnership with the American College of Rheumatology, will host a Twitter party at 2 pm EDT on Oct. 12. Dr. Patience White of the Arthritis Foundation and Dr. Arthur Weinstein of Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University Medical Center will answer questions in real time. Join the party by tweeting using the hash tag #arthritisday.

* Ask Congress to Join the Congressional Arthritis Caucus – World Arthritis Day marks the launch of the Congressional Arthritis Caucus, co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Eshoo (D-CA) and Myrick (R-NC). The caucus will strive to raise awareness about arthritis and work toward the goal of educating all members of Congress about how arthritis impacts their communities and how to help support federal and local efforts addressing arthritis in all its forms. Call or email your members of Congress and ask that they unite against arthritis by joining the Congressional Arthritis Caucus.

* Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis – Form a Jingle Bell Run/Walk team and raise awareness and funds to fight arthritis. Be one of the first 100 people to register on Oct. 12 at www.fightarthritispain.org and receive a free gift.

To learn more about World Arthritis Day activities in the U.S., visit www.fightarthritispain.org/worldarthritisday. Visit www.worldarthritisday.org for worldwide activities.

The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is the leading health organization addressing the needs of the 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children, living with arthritis, the nation's most common cause of disability. The Foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; supporting research and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis.

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