On a More Humerus Note…

It’s October, and Halloween is soon upon us. Since we’re on the subject of skeletons (and we are, it turns out), I’d like to note that October 12 – 20 is Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week. Not so scary at first glance, but the facts about bone and joint health are downright frightening:

  • More than half the American population over the age of 18 – 54 percent – are affected by musculoskeletal (bone and joint) conditions, according to The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions in the United States.1
  • One in three (33%) people over the age of 18 required medical care for a musculoskeletal condition in each of the years 2009 to 2011, a 19% increase over the last decade.2
  • Musculoskeletal conditions can lead to significant disability plus diminished productivity and quality of life. Treatment and lost wagecosts associated with musculoskeletal diseases in the U.S. alone was estimated at $874 billion in 2009 to 2011 – equal to 5.73 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).3
  • Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide affecting hundreds of millions of people. 4
  • 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture, with 20% mortality rate within 12 months of a hip fracture.5

I don’t know about you, but that last one kind of freaks me out. Bone and joint conditions include common things like arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, osteoporosis, and trauma. “Trauma” includes very serious things like those hip fractures mentioned above, but also stupid things like trying to do something with a skateboard that seemed perfectly reasonable when you were twenty, but which turns out to be decidedly unreasonable when you’re 50. We’ve all been there, or likely will be at some point.

If you find all this a bit frightening — and you should — now imagine being one of the 65,000 uninsured adults in Montgomery County without health insurance and facing a serious musculoskeletal condition. Now that’s scary, given that such conditions can not only impact one’s ability to work and support one’s family, but can be truly life-threatening.

The good boos — er, news – is that the Mercy Health Clinic provides uninsured adults in Montgomery County with specialty care including rheumatology and orthopedics, in a warm and compassionate environment that is decidedly NOT scary. Your support of the Mercy Health Clinic helps ensure that our uninsured neighbors in the County get the care they need to keep their bones and joints healthy.

Bone up on joint and bone conditions and what to do about them by checking out the US Bone and Joint Initiative at http://www.usbji.org/. And have a happy and safe Halloween!

— Pam Saussy, Board Member


1,2,3 http://www.boneandjointburden.org/2014-report/ib0/prevalence-select-medical-conditions

4 Woolf AD, Pfleger B. Burden of major musculoskeletal conditions. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2003;81:646-656.

5 http://www.boneandjointburden.org/docs/By%20The%20Numbers%20-%20Musculoskeletal%20Conditions%20%28Big%20Picture%29.pdf

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