The Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA) is partnering with the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management and the Arthritis Foundation to increase awareness about the disproportionate impact of osteoarthritis (OA) among active duty military service members and veterans.
Together, they are launching a campaign through Veterans Day to empower veterans to stay active, maintain a healthy weight, prevent injury, and manage joint pain.
Active duty service members are often considered tactical athletes, given the significant level of combat training and physical fitness required for the job. Training and active duty service are physically demanding and can lead to development of OA from overloading joints, repetitive motion, or a traumatic injury.
OA places a major burden on military service members and veterans. Injuries and subsequent OA lead to high rates of disability. They significantly impact force readiness and quality of life for all service members and veterans.
- Service members with knee injuries are nearly 6 times more likely to be diagnosed with knee OA during their military career.
- OA is the 2nd leading cause of military discharge, behind combat wounds.
- Soldiers with post-traumatic knee OA (OA that develops after an injury) are 31% more likely to receive a disability discharge at a younger age when compared to those with knee OA that develops over time from increased load on joints and repetitive motion.
- Health care costs for joint injury and subsequent OA among the military are surprisingly high and climbing, estimated at $3 billion per year.
- After returning to civilian life, veterans over the age of 40 are twice as likely to develop arthritis. Joint pain increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and social isolation.
- About half of veterans with arthritis report limitations in their daily activities because of joint symptoms. Less activity is a major barrier to managing other common health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Opioids and benzodiazepines are prescribed for 27% of people with OA, despite the high risk of adverse side effects and drug addiction, and a lack of evidence supporting the effectiveness of this approach.
The campaign will include a variety of educational tools and resources to outline important information about OA, including relevant, compelling data to make the case for Why OA Matters to service members and veterans.
Most importantly, it encourages veterans to Act NOW! by offering key actions and links to custom-develop and specifically curated online tools, guidelines, videos, and other resources. These tools empower veterans to easily tailor offerings to meet their unique needs, such as:
- staying active despite OA
- maintaining a healthy weight
- managing joint pain and developing self-care skills
- connecting with others who also have OA
- prevent injuries by increasing strength, balance, and flexibility
[Source(s): Osteoarthritis Action Alliance, PR Newswire]