Becoming a young adult with arthritis

16 April 2019
Adulting with arthritis event and expert panel taking questions.

On Saturday 6 April, we held our firstAdulting With Arthritis event for young adults with arthritis (with ages ranging from 16-30) 

When you have arthritis, your condition (or the medication you are on) may make navigating life more complicated; and a bit of helpful information at the right time can make all the difference. The aim of this event in Belfast was about exactly that. 

It was an opportunity for young people with arthritis to come together, have the space to meet up with like-minded others and get answers to important questions. 

Bridging the gap – from teens into adulthood 

Theres so much to navigate during this time, which can make it exciting, but also daunting.  

Decisions to be made range from what career to choose, is going to university the right choice… starting a family…

Then there’s loads of new life skills to learn like budgeting, driving and making the move to live independently. 

We wanted to give everyone a chance to talk about how you can manage living with arthritis and continue to enjoy life! 

So, when are you an adult? 

We asked the participants this question at the event and the responses were interesting.  

Many responded age 18, as this is often seen as the legal age people become an adult. Others thought you become an adult at 16, and a few said older, age 20.  

Interestingly, the brain continues to develop right up to age 24. That said, there are probably many 30-year olds who are adults and don’t feel like they are! 

The truth is becoming an adult is not just counting the number of candles on your birthday cake. Unfortunately, we don’t wake up on our 18th birthday with all the skills needed to embark on the adventure ahead of us called adulthood. It’s a journey. 

Becoming an adult with arthritis 

Along this journey, well ask many questions and here’s some we discussed on the day 

  • Will my arthritis stop me from getting a tattoo or a piercing? 
  • Should I be honest about my condition when I’m applying for jobs? 
  • Can I get assistance in airports if I flare while travelling? 
  • Can you drink alcohol on the same day as taking methotrexate?  
  • Do I have to use a specific type of contraception because I have arthritis? 
  • Can I predict the weather with my knees?! 

Navigating the world of relationships was a huge topic.  People wanted to get tips on how to communicate better with friends and family about their arthritis. Including being able to say what they need and don’t need. 

The future 

Some people were starting to think about the future too and asked important questions, like: 

  • Can arthritis ever be totally cured?  
  • Will my kids have arthritis?  
  • Can I get pregnant? 
  • Can I continue taking my medication while pregnant? 

Getting answers 

The discussions were really interesting and our expert panel which comprised of rheumatologists and young adults with arthritis (as well as experts in mental health, benefits and more) helped to answer these questions. 

We received fantastic feedback from those who attended this event Overall, everyone who came along really appreciated having the opportunity to get answers to questions that they might not share with their family, or their doctor. 

We’re here for you 

If you are a young adult with arthritis and you have questions, we are here for you.  

You can ask your questions to our Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you can browse through the information on our website or you can pick up the phone and call our free helpline. 

Keep in touch 

We run events for young people with arthritis (and similar conditions) across the UK. Our events aim to help build confidence and your ability to navigate life as a young person living with arthritis. 

To see what’s coming up in your area, search for upcoming events here. 

Keep in touch with what’s happening for young people living with arthritis in Northern Ireland (and their families) by following us on Facebook and Instagram.