11/10/2011 18:53 BST | Updated 11/12/2011 05:12 GMT

It's World Arthritis Day on Wednesday 12th October - Did you know?

I know there are so many 'days', 'weeks' and 'months' in the media for weird and wonderful occasions but for us as a charity, World Arthritis Day on Wednesday 12th October provides a great focus and helps raise awareness of the whole issue of arthritis.

Did you know, for instance:

• There are more than 200 different types of arthritis

• The condition is more prevalent in women - more than 10 million adults (6 million women and 4 million men) consult their GP each year with arthritis and related conditions

• More than 6 million people have chronic back pain

• Arthritis is the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK, making it the most common condition for which people receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

• Around 15,000 children in the UK have ongoing problems with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and related conditions

The theme of World Arthritis Day is 'Move to Improve'. Keeping arthritic joints supple by staying as mobile and as active as possible is important because it will reduce your pain, help you to stay independent and improve your self-confidence.

Many people are afraid to exercise because they believe - mistakenly - that it'll cause further damage to their joints. But your body is designed to move, and unless joints are actively inflamed, inactivity is harmful to the tissues in and around the joints. So to prolong the life of your joints, you should remain active.

As the UK's fourth largest medical research charity, our research is pioneering the way to help people stay active.

We've just announced the launch of a £6million experimental tissue engineering centre, led by Newcastle University, which aims to regenerate bone and cartilage by using patients' own stem cells to repair the joint damage caused by osteoarthritis.

This research has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of osteoarthritis, which causes pain and disability to eight million people in the UK. Treatments for early osteoarthritis are usually limited to non-surgical options such as pain killers and physiotherapy. Patients currently undergo joint replacement operations but often endure a lot of pain while they are waiting for the surgery.

By introducing adult stem cells and other types of cell into damaged joints, this research could change people's lives, repairing damage through less invasive operations such as keyhole surgery.

Please make our day on 12th October, keep active!

About Arthritis Research UK:

Arthritis Research UK is the leading authority on arthritis in the UK, conducting scientific and medical research into all types of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. It is the UK's fourth largest medical research charity and the only charity solely committed to funding high quality research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. For more information please visit:

Find out more

Arthritis Research UK has launched a new range of patient information booklets and leaflets, to provide an ongoing source of information and support to patients. These were written by medical professionals following research into what patients need. The booklets and leaflets have been specifically developed to meet these needs, designed to be straightforward, clear, completely up to date and jargon free.

The new leaflets are available:

• on the website

• by email

• by telephone on 0300 790 0400

• by post by filling in a postal order form and posting to: Arthritis Research UK, PO Box 177, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S41 7TQ.