I have joined Versus Arthritis in Parliament to support their work and current campaigns.
Versus Arthritis works alongside volunteers, healthcare professionals, and researchers to do all they can to push back against arthritis. They are trying to find breakthroughs in treatments and are campaigning relentlessly for arthritis to be seen as a priority.
There are over 10 million people living with arthritis in the UK. That’s one in six, with over half of those living in pain every single day. The impact is huge as the condition slowly intrudes on everyday life – affecting the ability to work, care for a family, to move free from pain and to live independently. Yet arthritis is often dismissed as an inevitable part of ageing or shrugged off as ‘just a bit of arthritis’. Versus Arthritis don’t think that is OK. Building on legacies and expertise of both Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care, Versus Arthritis are trying to change the way people view the disease.
In Wales, 15% of women are receiving treatment for arthritis and 9% of men.
There are two most common types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis: the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting around 8 million people. It most often develops in adults who are in their late 40s or older. It’s also more common in women and people with a family history of the condition. However, it can occur at any age as a result of an injury or be associated with other joint-related conditions, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people. It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old. Women are three times more likely to be affected than men. Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis are two different conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling.
All too often people dismiss arthritis as just part of getting old. We need to seriously challenge and change our perception of this sometimes-debilitating disease so that we can focus on treatments and care for those with it.
15% of women and 9% of men in Wales are currently receiving treatment for arthritis showing that it has a large impact on people’s lives. In Flintshire alone, that means that roughly 11,805 women and 6,885 men are receiving treatment. We cannot allow people to suffer in silence.
It is really important that MPs can meet with charities and groups, like Versus Arthritis, to learn how we can help people more effectively. Although health is devolved in Wales it is really important that I have the information needed to push for greater funding for the Welsh Government.