Arthritis is one of the biggest public health issues facing India. Yet it is all too often passed off as being an inevitable or even an acceptable part of getting older. This perception is wrong, completely underestimates the condition and means that people with arthritis do not get the support and help they need to live well.
Over 10 million people of all ages in the India are living with arthritis. For people who have arthritis, just getting through the day is difficult.
Imagine finding it painful to get out of bed, dress yourself or use public transport. Imagine if you had a condition which affected your ability to do your job, socialise with friends or play with your own children or grandchildren. That is the reality of living arthritis. And, sadly, this in turn can lead to loneliness, depression and financial difficulty. It is no wonder that the majority of people (88%) describe it as a debilitating and life-restricting condition.
Arthritis also has a significant, but hidden, impact on wider society. Whether it’s an employer who loses out on the skills of an employee who has the condition; a child who misses out on being looked after by their parents or grandparents; or the strain on the NHS’s resources, the impact of arthritis is being felt across the whole of society.
But this significant and often devastating impact of arthritis is not matched by societal awareness, understanding or investment. Indeed, almost four out of five (77%) people with arthritis don’t think that society understands what it’s like to live with the condition.
We have to change the public’s perceptions of arthritis. We believe that, if society acknowledges the problem that arthritis poses for the India, the needs of people living with the condition will start to be addressed – be that in the workplace, the GP surgery, public spaces or even in their home.