Tipp arthritis group to launch new coffee morning

The West Tipperary Branch of Arthritis Ireland are launching their first rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis coffee mornings on April 9 at 11am in the Carvery Cafe in the Tipperary Shopping Centre. The launch of the coffee mornings is the next step in support that the branch provides to those suffering with arthritis in the area.

The West Tipperary Branch of Arthritis Ireland are launching their first rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis coffee mornings on April 9 at 11am in the Carvery Cafe in the Tipperary Shopping Centre. The launch of the coffee mornings is the next step in support that the branch provides to those suffering with arthritis in the area.

The branch is based in Tipperary Town but serves both Tipperary and Limerick and is one of 21 branches or Arthritis Ireland around the country. The main goal of the branch is to provide help, support and information to those suffering from Arthritis in the area. Currently there are monthly support meetings with guest speakers including physiotherapists, consultants and dieticians.

Currently arthritis affects over 915,000 people in Ireland, including 1,100 children making it the single biggest cause of disability. There are over 100 types of arthritis the most common forma are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Although many symptoms of arthritis are shared across the conditions, like pain, fatigue and inflammation, there are many unique to each disease too. No arthritis cure exists at present and it is not known what causes it. However, there are many medical and non-medical arthritis treatments available that can help you to control arthritis systems.

Arthritis is more than just pain, inflammation and fatigue it also affects all other aspects of your life as a recent study by Arthritis Ireland revealed the true emotional impact of the condition on people’s lives discovered.

- 27% of people with arthritis also suffer from depression

- 48% can no longer participate in the social activities they used to enjoy

- 30% are worried about how their condition has affected their appearance

- 31% are sad and depressed, while 40% find it hard to keep going and admit their arthritis is a constant worry for them

- 40% believe their condition has had a negative impact on intimacy with their spouse or partner.

- Half of those who are separated, divorced or living apart believe their arthritis was a contributing factor to their relationship break-up

- 40% find basic household chores difficult, such as opening a tetra pack carton or putting a nappy on a child

- 39% worry that their arthritis is a burden for their children

Stephanie Skeffington will be the representative for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 40,000 people in Ireland. This is a severe inflammatory auto-immune condition, where the body is said to attack itself. Seventy per cent of these are women with the average age of diagnosis being 35. Stephanie said: “One of the most important things to remember is that arthritis doesn’t discriminate against age. People often wrongly assume it’s just something that the elderly experience but I was diagnosed at 13 and some people have been diagnosed at three or four years of age. The coffee mornings are a place for sufferers of all ages to talk in a relaxed informal environment.”

John Quinn will be the representative for those suffering from osteoarthritis. This is the ‘wear and tear’ form of arthritis and results in joint and cartilage damage. Women are likely to be affected two to three times more than men.

To celebrate the launch of the first meeting the fibromyalgia group who have been meeting for over two years are joining the first meeting to show their support. Fibromyalgia is a common arthritis that causes widespread and severe pain, aching and fatigue but affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons rather than the joints. It may affect the one part of the body or several different areas such as the limbs, neck and back.

Deirdre Ryan who runs the fibromyalgia coffee mornings has witnessed first hand the benefits to be taken from these meetings.

“The group meets once a month to chat and pass on any useful tips. We find it very helpful to talk to other Fibromyalgia sufferers who know exactly how we are feeling.”