The Importance of Raising Awareness

The Importance of Raising Awareness

Those who live with a painful and chronic condition hardly need awareness campaigns. Pain, stiffness, and bouts of immobility make patients feel all too aware every single day. Yet organizations like ANRF often talk about raising awareness. Why is that?

In short, awareness matters because it can help to improve the lives of patients. Knowledge is a powerful tool. It causes people to take action that can improve treatments, diagnostics, and social supports.

Awareness in the Community

Increased understanding about chronic conditions in the community can have three powerful effects.

  • First, it can help to destigmatize patients. Autoimmune conditions are often invisible to the naked eye and those who live with such conditions may be seen as lazy or cranky when in fact they are battling incredible fatigue or pain. Disease awareness can combat such rash judgements and promote understanding and support.
  • Second, it can help someone identify potential symptoms in themselves or a loved one. This increases the chance of receiving an early diagnosis and more impactful treatment outcomes.
  • Third, it can encourage others to support funding of research or passing of legislation that will help patients. Lesser-known diseases tend to receive less attention and therefore less urgency to find answers and cures.

Awareness in Government

When legislators are made aware of the impact of chronic conditions on the lives of individuals, they are often encouraged to take action in one of two ways.

  • First, they may be encouraged to increase funding for research, patient services, or specialty care centers.
  • Second, they may be asked to consider the drafting of legislation to ensure that patients are treated fairly by receiving accommodations in the workplace or fair access to services that may improve their quality of life.

How to Spread Awareness

This article only touches on some of the myriad benefits that general knowledge can have on patient experience. There are numerous ways to spread awareness about a chronic condition. It can be as simple as starting a conversation with an acquaintance or as involved as written letters to local officials or hosting an event.

While anyone can spread awareness, patients are often the most powerful advocates for themselves. They can speak to the daily realities of living with disease and are living proof that just because a disease cannot be seen, doesn’t mean it can’t be devastating.

For more information on getting involved during Arthritis Awareness Month, visit


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Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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