Special day focuses on painful disease

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 18, 2000

If you’re holding this newspaper page in your hand, you’re already doing something that thousands of Mississippians find difficult and painful each day.

One in every six persons in our state experience some form of arthritis, and today is a special day set aside to focus on the crippling disease that affects the joints.

The Arthritis Foundation has named today &uot;Arthritis Action Day.&uot; It’s purpose is to spotlight the importance of the issue and help to ensure that those who are afflicted with any of the more than 100 different types of the disease can get the best possible treatment.

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With such a wide range of different types and names of the disease, often patients who have arthritis may not know it. Osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, juvenile arthritis and lupus are but a few of the different types.

With the graying of America becoming more and more of a reality each day, the cost — both physical and financial — is great.

The disease is the leading cause of disability for Americans over the age of 15. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the disease costs the U.S. economy about $65 billion each year in lost wages and medical care.

And we think awareness of how widespread the problem is will help focus our nation on finding ways to cure the disease.

While politicians and lobbyists work to move folks to their side of the medical reform debate, each of us can do our part without costing us a dime.

The next time you find yourself in line at a store, frustrated as someone slowly fumbles with their wallet or purse, stop and realize that that person may be fighting the excruciating pain of arthritis.

Understanding their pain goes a long way toward easing it.