The ACR along with SimpleTasks.org created the campaign to help people better understand what rheumatic diseases are, and how they impact the daily lives of people living with them.
For the second year in a row, the theme of the awareness month is “Hundreds of Diseases. One Voice." The official spokesperson for RDAM 2017 is the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw. A charismatic sports commentator, Bradshaw lives with rheumatoid arthritis.
The ACR has adopted the hashtags #RDAM and #RDAM2017 to spread the word on social media throughout September.
Rheumatic diseases cause more disability than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, according to the ACR, but rheumatic diseases tend to be much less understood than the “big name,” high-profile diseases. Other examples of chronic inflammatory arthritis diseases include psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and lupus.
Use the links below to learn more about these conditions, which affect the joints and connective tissues and cause joint pain, muscle pain, inflammation, fatigue, and other symptoms.
Rheumatic Disease Basics
Here are just a few rheumatic diseases:
- Ankylosing spondylitis The most common of the spondyloarthropathies — rheumatic diseases that specifically affect the spine — this often occurs in young adults.
- Fibromyalgia This rheumatic disease attacks the muscles and tendons that support joints, causing pain, stiffness, and problems sleeping.
- Gout This disease is characterized by uric acid crystals in the joints — often the big toe — that cause episodes of swelling and pain.
- Infectious arthritis Some forms of arthritis are caused by viral or bacterial infections. One example, Lyme disease, results from the bite of a tick carrying specific bacteria, and it may cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness of joints.
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis The most common arthritis in childhood, this disease causes pain, swelling, and loss of joint function. Symptoms may also include fevers and rashes.
- Lupus Formally called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), this rheumatic disease is also an autoimmune disease. Lupus attacks the body’s own healthy cells and tissues, causing damage to joints and organs.
- Osteoarthritis The most common type of arthritis, this rheumatic disease destroys cartilage and bone, causing pain and disability.
- Psoriatic arthritis A form of arthritis that occurs in people with the skin disorder psoriasis, this painful disease affects joints of the fingers and toes, creating noticeable changes in fingernails and toenails.
- Reactive arthritis This rheumatic disease, known as Reiter’s syndrome, is another spondyloarthropathy. Often, it's triggered by an infection in the bowels, urinary tract, or other organs. Symptoms include skin rashes, eye problems, and sores on the mouth.
- Rheumatoid arthritis This rheumatic disease destroys the lining of joints, causing swelling, pain, and stiffness throughout the body.
- Scleroderma The body produces too much collagen, the fibrous material that supports the structure of skin and other organs, in this rheumatic disease. Scleroderma also affects joints and blood vessels.