Living with Rheumatic Diseases

Driving Healthy is helping raise awareness about rheumatic diseases during the first annual Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month, sponsored by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and its national public awareness campaign, Simple Tasks.

More than 52.5 million Americans – young and old – live with painful, debilitating, and life-threatening rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Rheumatic diseases are the nation’s leading cause of disability, generating more than $128 billion in health costs each year. These diseases often strike individuals in the prime of their lives and can lead to long-term disability and early death if not treated early and effectively.

Because rheumatic disease symptoms can be difficult to pinpoint and are sometimes dismissed as merely the aches and pains of getting older, people living with these diseases may go years before seeking treatment or receiving a correct diagnosis. Although there is no cure for rheumatic disease, early intervention by a trained rheumatologist can help patients manage symptoms and maintain a normal quality of life.

Symptoms of rheumatic disease vary by person and condition but may include:

  • Joint or muscle pain, inflammation, swelling, redness, or stiffness;
  • Eye irritation and inflammation;
  • General fatigue, malaise, and fevers;
  • Hair loss;
  • Dry eyes or mouth;
  • Chest pain; and
  • Seizures or stroke.

Source: American College of Rheumatology

Find out More

Simple Tasks and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) offer a variety of trusted educational information about arthritis and other rheumatic diseases for patients and caregivers.

Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month is sponsored by Simple Tasks, a national public awareness campaign from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). People who are interested in learning more about rheumatic diseases and Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month activities are encouraged to visit the Simple Tasks website at

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