THE BLOG

The Disease Affecting 300,000 Kids in the United States That You Don't Know About

02/04/2015 07:45 pm ET | Updated Apr 06, 2015

The numbers are staggering and there is no cure! Yet, one in five American adults and 300,000 kids in the U.S. are affected by arthritis and battle debilitating chronic pain every day. (1)

Most people believe that arthritis is something that exclusively affects elderly people - they're unaware that kids suffer from arthritis (called juvenile arthritis) and don't know that the majority of adults afflicted with this disease are nowhere near the age to receive their free subscription to AARP. And the news only gets worse, by 2030, it is estimated that 67 million Americans aged 18 or older, a shocking 25% of the adult population, will be diagnosed with some form of arthritis (2).

Why is this disease so widespread and misunderstood? Why are we not taking this seriously when it affects so many people? Considering the impact on our families and the national economy, why is it so hard to get people inspired to donate and show up for up for the #1 cause of disability in our country? (3)

I wondered that myself when I started learning more about arthritis two years ago. I joined the Los Angeles Advisory Board, Arthritis Foundation in 2013, of which I am now Board Chair, and am also a current member of the Arthritis Foundation Pacific Region Board, serving California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.. I do not have arthritis nor does anyone in my family, but I see a great opportunity to do much-needed work together, to make an impact, and to push for a cure.

Through our efforts, we've made significant headway in bringing attention to our cause. In 2013, producer extraordinaire, Deborah Snyder (300, Batman v. Superman) created a video for the Arthritis Foundation called "Faces of Arthritis" that portrays this disease through the stories of the people that suffer with it every day

Most recently we've gained some valuable awareness of arthritis with the nationwide release of the motion picture, Cake starring actress Jennifer Aniston. Cake's storyline centers on the devastating effects of chronic pain in the life of Claire Simmons (Aniston) and depicts her search for human connection and self-forgiveness to help her heal for good.

On January 6th, Ann Palmer, CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, joined Aniston, Dr. Bruce Hensel, chief medical editor for NBC4 (KNBC-TV), and other esteemed experts in Los Angeles, for a town hall panel discussion following an exclusive private screening of Cake. Palmer highlighted arthritis as not only the leading cause of disability in the United States but also, a common source of chronic pain. She also emphasized the important role the Arthritis Foundation plays in improving people's lives.

"Chronic pain from arthritis and other physical disorders seriously limits our productivity as a nation, as well as our economic progress and living everyday life. We need to address this now, starting with arthritis, which attacks one in every five Americans," shared Ann Palmer, CEO, Arthritis Foundation."

You can help us to spread the word about the widespread suffering caused by this disease. The first step is education -- if you learned something from this article please share it with your friends and family and on social media. Share our video and show your support. Together we can change the misconceptions that surround the disease of arthritis and work toward a cure! #CureArthritis

What can you do to make a difference?
1) Donate www.arthritis.org
2) Volunteer www.arthiritis.org/advocate/volunteer-resource-center.php
3) Support Local Events http://www.arthritis.org/get-involved/
4) Advocate! Sign up as an E-Advocate www.arthritis.org/advocate/join-the-movement/sign-up-to-be-an-e-advocate.php

1. DATA SOURCE: Arthritis Care Res 2007;57: 1439-1445 [Data Source: 2004 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey]

2. Data Source: 2003 National Health Review Survey: 2030 Census projected population.
Hootman JM, Helmick CG. Projections of the U.S. prevalence of arthritis associated with activity limitations, Arthritis Rheum 2006:54 (1) 226-229.

3.Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2004 Survey of Income and Program Participation, Wave 5, June-September 2005. as reported in: Hootman JM, Brault MW, Helmick CG, Theis KA, Armour BS. Prevalence and Most Common Causes of Disability Among Adults -- United States, 2005. MMWR 2009;58(16):421-426