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Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day 2024: Theme, History, Significance & Common Signs

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day 2024: We can utilise this day to bring focus toward the history, significance, and common symptoms of RA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day 2024: Theme, History, Significance & Common Signs

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day 2024: Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint deformities

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day is an annual event held on February 2nd to raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This day is recognised worldwide to educate the public about the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and impact of RA on individuals' lives.


The theme for Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day 2024 is “Living Well with RA: Early Diagnosis, Effective Management, and a Brighter Future”. The focus is on diagnosing RA early and figuring out the correct management techniques. 


The history behind Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day can be traced back to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and its Committee on Rheumatologic Care. This committee established the day to advocate for patients and help them understand the importance of early diagnosis and intervention.


The significance of this awareness day lies in the fact that rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the joints, causing pain, stiffness, swelling, and sometimes deformity. It is estimated that around 1.3 million people in the United States alone suffer from RA, making it crucial to improve public understanding and provide support for those affected.

By recognising Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day, people can access accurate information about the disease, learn about the available treatments, understand the impact on individuals' lives, and support ongoing research efforts. This awareness helps reduce stigma, supports advocacy for improved healthcare access, and aims to improve the overall quality of life for individuals living with RA. We can utilise this day to bring focus toward the common symptoms of RA. Read on as we discuss some common signs.

Common signs of RA to look out for:

1. Pain and swelling in multiple joints

Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects the small joints in the hands, wrists, and feet. The joints may feel tender, warm, and appear red or swollen.

2. Morning stiffness

People with rheumatoid arthritis often experience prolonged stiffness and discomfort in the joints, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

3. Fatigue and weakness

Chronic fatigue is common in rheumatoid arthritis patients due to the body's immune system attacking healthy tissues and causing inflammation.

4. Loss of appetite and weight loss

Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to a decreased appetite and unintentional weight loss due to inflammation and general discomfort.

5. Fever and flu-like symptoms

Some individuals with rheumatoid arthritis may experience low-grade fever, alongside flu-like symptoms such as mild headaches and muscle aches.

6. Joint deformity

Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint deformities, such as the fingers bending toward the palm, creating a swan-neck or boutonniere deformity.

7. Numbness and tingling

In some cases, rheumatoid arthritis can cause nerve compression, leading to numbness, tingling, or weakness in certain parts of the body.

8. Rheumatoid nodules

These are small, firm lumps that form under the skin, often near joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. They can vary in size and may be tender.

9. Eye dryness and inflammation

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause eye dryness, redness, and inflammation, resulting in gritty or painful eyes and potential vision problems.

10. Difficulty with daily activities

Rheumatoid arthritis can make it challenging to perform everyday tasks, such as gripping objects, walking, or even dressing yourself.

To identify these signs, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional, such as a rheumatologist, who will conduct a thorough physical examination, review medical history, perform blood tests, and potentially order imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs.

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