Happy International Women's Day to all of our fabulous readers!
This special day presents a wonderful opportunity for me to celebrate all the women involved in this fascinating and often complex world of Rheumatology. With this years theme being #balanceforbetter, I've been reflecting on the work I do at BJC, a unique Rheumatology Centre with the vision to change the lives of those with rheumatic disease.
At university, I remember perhaps only a handful of lectures which mentioned anything to do with Rheumatology. And I promise I actually showed up to lectures :) My early years working in gyms and fitness centres involved trying to tailor exercise programs for individuals with varying aches and pains. Clients presented with dicky knees, sore backs, stiff joints all wanting to live life with a bit more ease. Looking back, I know I did my best, but now realise I could have made a much bigger impact had I just some of the knowledge that I've since gained.
A few years later, I remember Errol Lim asking me in my job interview at BJC whether I had any exposure to individuals with Fibromyalgia or Ankylosing Spondylitis.
My answer was no.
So needless to say, it was a pretty steep learning curve once I started at BJC :)
But fast forward 8 years, and am thrilled to be working where I am. I've learnt a crazy amount about bones, joints, muscles and tendons. I've been inspired by Rheumatology colleagues and clients alike and have also delivered countless hours of movement correction, exercise prescription and health coaching.
My experience at BJC has also taught me that when it comes to Rheumatology, there are some conditions that are more prevalent in our female clientele. Did you know that unfortunately women are more prone to developing painful musculoskeletal problems and autoimmune conditions than men?
- Fibromyalgia, affects seven women for each man.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis is two to three times more common in women than men.
- Lupus, an auto-immune condition that can affect the joints, skin and internal organs, is nine times more common in women than men.
- Women also outnumber men in a range of other painful problems including irritable bowel syndrome and osteoporotic fractures.
Needless to say, there will continue to be the need for those of us working in Rheumatology, to ensure women can access health care that both empowers and inspires.
So consider todays post a toast to all of our Rheumatology patients!! Especially the mothers, the daughters, the friends and numerous others within the support crew. I hope both myself and the team I work with, and the wider Rheumatology community can continue to assist you to live and feel better.
I 'm committed to following the International Womens theme and will continue to do my bit in the years to come to motivate others and recognise that collectively we can all play our part to achieve great things!