The answer to the ultimate question

Of course, the answer is 42.  If you’re not a rabid fan of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you can learn more about it here and here.  For the purpose of this post, I just accept that the answer really is 42, at least for today anyway.

Clearly, 42 is the number of full kilometres in a full marathon.  (No disrespect intended to those last .2 kms — I hear they’re a really bugger.)  More importantly, today marks 42 weeks until I run a marathon in Lausanne, Switzerland!  In honour of this quirky fact, I am launching 42 (.2) things you probably don’t know about arthritis.  Each week for the next 42 weeks, I’ll post something new, as part of my goal to raise awareness about arthritis.

The first thing you might not know is that there actually more than 100 kinds of arthritis.  These include everything from relatively mild forms of tendinitis (like tennis elbow) and bursitis, to crippling and systemic forms such as rheumatoid arthritis.  There also also pain syndromes like fibromyalgia and arthritis-related disorders, such as lupus, that involve every part of the body.  There are other forms of the disease, such as gout, that almost nobody connects with arthritis, and other conditions – like osteoarthritis – that many people think is the only form of the disease.  The common denominator for all these conditions is joint and musculoskeletal pain, which is why they are grouped together as ‘arthritis.’

With all these different forms, it’s quite likely that someone you know is directly affected by some type of arthritis. They might not talk about it and you might not even know they have it, but for those people who have some form of arthritis, it’s very real and can have a huge impact on their lives.

That’s it for this week.  Check back next week – you might learn something new!

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