Children get arthritis too

(12/10/2015) Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in Ireland and those affected are fed up with the myth that the condition ‘is just a few aches and pains that affects older people’, Arthritis Ireland (AI) has said.

This week is National Arthritis Week and as part of this, the charity has launched a major new awareness campaign aimed at shifting public perceptions about the disease.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that causes pain and immobility, ranging from mild to severe. There are over 100 types, the most common of which are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some 60% of people affected are under the age of 65.

Currently in Ireland, almost one million adults and over 1,000 children are affected by some form of arthritis – a situation AI describes as a ‘crisis’.

“People with arthritis in Ireland are fed up living with the stereotype that it is just a few aches and pains that just affects older people when, in fact, the reality is very different. Ireland is now in the midst of an arthritis crisis. It is the single biggest cause of disability here, affecting nearly one million people from newborn babies’ right through to the elderly,” explained AI chief executive, John Church.

He pointed out that the number of people affected by the disease is expected to jump by 30% by the year 2030.

“Funds are urgently needed to address this crisis, to invest in research to find new treatments and a cure, and to provide services to help people control this devastating disease,” he commented.

In order to highlight that this is not just a disease of older people, AI has launched an online video, Children Get Arthritis Too!, which can be viewed here

Speaking about the disease, Irene Collins, whose daughter Grace was diagnosed when she was just two-and-a-half years old, said the family was ‘shocked’ to discover what she had arthritis at such a young age.

“It is a condition she lives with daily, and people don’t always get what that means and the harsh impact it has on her childhood. Sometimes she’s in so much pain she can’t even walk,” Ms Collins explained.

National Arthritis Week runs until October 18. For more information on how to live well with arthritis, click here or call AI on 1890 252 846.


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