A startling number of West Virginians suffer from some type of arthritis.

“Thirty-four percent of residents in West Virginia have a doctor-diagnosed arthritis condition. There are 480,000 people in the state who have a form of arthritis.” according to Shannon Holland the director of the new Arthritis Foundation office here in West Virginia.

Up until last week, the National Arthritis Foundation only had case workers here in state. But they decided it was time to open an office where those with the condition or loved ones can sit down and talk to an expert about arthritis, what it means to their family and how it can be treated.

Many of those living with arthritis are elderly. But Holland says there are thousands of youngsters dealing with it as well.

“[There are] 1,600 children statewide who have been diagnosed with a form of juvenile arthritis. And of course that always raises a lot of concern,” Holland said.

Nearly 100 different types of arthritis-conditions. Experts say age and genetic disposition play a part

“We are working hard to find a cure and help people live the best life they can possibly live,” Holland said.

The non-profit agency connects those with arthritis to available resources and it’s also a way to reach out to the community to talk about the wide spread condition.

The Foundation is already looking for partners to help with the 2013 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis in December. For more information, you can log on to www.arthritis.org for more information.

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