This week, from the 8th – 14th May, is Arthritis Care Week. According to the NHS, arthritis affects approximately 10 million people living in the UK. Whilst generally associated with the older population, in fact 15,000 of those affected are children and young people.
There are numerous ways to get involved in supporting Arthritis Care to drive fundraising and awareness this week, regardless of how able you are. Why not take part in “My distance, My Way” which invites anyone to push themselves to cover a distance in a method they would find challenging – participants can then invite their friends and family to sponsor them and raise money for Arthritis Care. Alternatively you can support from your desk by joining in Arthritis Care’s Thunderclap which coordinates all participants’ social posts to go out with the same message at the same time for maximum impact.
There are several forms of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis which is more likely to affect women and those with a family history of the condition. It affects the joints with symptoms varying from person to person and affecting different parts of the body. In general, the condition causes considerable discomfort for the patient and often leads to a restriction in mobility.
There are a range of treatments available to those suffering with arthritis from medication to physiotherapy and even surgery in severe cases. Gentle and regular exercise has also been proven to help those with arthritis, as it helps to limit pain and maintain mobility. Regular movement will help to keep the muscles strong to better support the joints and prevent disability. Walking and swimming are both great forms of exercise but even small movements daily can make a difference. If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve been working with occupational therapist Kate Sheehan to develop Stannah Stays Active – a series of simple exercises to help maintain strength, flexibility, posture and mobility.
At Stannah we understand how frustrating it can be for people living with arthritis. To help us have the best understanding possible we created an osteoarthritis simulation suit, which allows those who don’t suffer with the condition to gain some understanding of what it feels like. The restrictive suit contains numerous purposefully-placed spines, which over the course of several hours inside the suit, makes the wearer experience the discomfort and fatigue similar to what someone with arthritis might feel.
This has been invaluable in helping us to develop our products to be suitable for those who live with arthritis. In fact the most recent addition to our suite of stairlifts, the Sadler, was specifically designed for those who have limited movement in their joints, most often caused by various forms of Arthritis. The supportive chair is positioned at an angle, allowing the user to rest between standing and sitting, eliminating the need to fully bend the knees.
Whether you live with arthritis yourself, know someone who does or neither – get involved! Working together we can help to fund further research and provide more services to help improve the lives of those who live with this disabling condition.