World Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Arthritis Day Date in the current year: May 20, 2024

World Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Arthritis Day World Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Arthritis Day, also known as simply World Autoimmune Arthritis Day, is observed annually on May 20. It was created to raise awareness of various autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases that have inflammatory-driven arthritis as one of the main symptoms.

Autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases are caused by dysfunction of the immune system, which results in an abnormal immune response to the body’s own healthy cells, tissues or organs. The main difference between the two is that autoinflammatory diseases involve the innate immune system (the one that is “pre-programmed” in our bodies), whereas autoimmune diseases involve the adaptive immune system (the one our bodies develop upon exposure to various pathogens).

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases and over two dozen autoinflammatory conditions, but only a handful of them involve arthritis, i.e. affect the joints. Common symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and decreased range of motion. The most common “auto”-diseases involving arthritis (AiArthritis diseases) are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, axial spondyloarthritis, and Still’s disease.

AiArthritis diseases noticeably affect joints at early stages, but as the disease progresses, it may have a systemic effect on the entire body. These diseases typically involve chronic pain in at last one joint that lasts for longer than six weeks and can have a significant negative impact on one’s quality of life and even cause invisible disability.

Other common symptoms shared by AiArthritis diseases include stiff and swollen joints, severe fatigue, flu-like symptoms without actually having the flu (muscle weakness, nausea, feeling unwell), fever, and “brain fog” (forgetfulness, confusion, a lack of focus).

According to statistics, at least 300 million people around the globe have been diagnosed with an AiArthritis disease. However, the number of people affected by autoimmune or autoinflammatory arthritis is believed to be an estimated 450 million because more than half of all patients are diagnosed with an “undifferentiated” or “unclassified” disease or even go undiagnosed.

World Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Arthritis Day (WAAAD) was launched in 2012 by AiArthritis (International Foundation for Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Arthritis), then known as the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement. Its main goal is to raise global awareness of autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases with inflammatory arthritis and improve access to diagnosis and treatment around the globe.

You can observe WAAAD by learning more about autoimmune and autoinflammatory arthritis, participating in an event organized by AiArthritis or one of its partner organizations, donating to an organization that supports arthritis patients or funds research into autoimmune and/or autoinflammatory diseases, wearing a blue and purple awareness ribbon to raise awareness and start conversation, and spreading the word on social media.

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