What You Need to Know About Arthritis…

Arthritis, which includes more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions, is the nation’s most common cause of disability. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis; other forms include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and gout. Arthritis is more common among adults over 65 years old, but people of all ages (including children) can be affected. Symptoms include pain, aching, stiffness and swelling in or around the joints; some form of arthritis can affect multiple organs and cause widespread symptoms.

Why Arthritis is a Public Health Problem

  • An estimated 52.5 million U.S. adults (equivalent to about 1 in 5) report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The number of adults with arthritis is expected to increase sharply to 67 million by 2030
  • It is estimated that the lifetime risk of developing knee osteoarthritis that causes pain is 45%. Among those who have had a knee injury, an estimated 57% will develop osteoarthritis; an estimated 60% of people who are obese will develop osteoarthritis
  • Arthritis limits the activities of 22.7 million Americans
  • Arthritis occurs with other chronic conditions; among U.S. adults with arthritis, nearly half have at least one other disease or condition
  • Research has shown that people with arthritis are less likely to be physically active; not being physically active is a risk factor for other chronic diseases and makes it harder to manage these conditions

What People Can Do To Prevent and Control Arthritis

  • Self-management education interventions can teach people with arthritis how to manage their condition, lessen its effects and improve their quality of life
  • Physical activities (such as walking, bicycling, and swimming) can have many benefits for people with arthritis; these benefits include less pain and better physical function, mental health and quality of life
  • People can reduce their risk of developing osteoarthritis by controlling their weight and trying to avoid injuries; weight loss can also reduce symptoms for people with knee osteoarthritis who are overweight or obese
  • Recommendations from healthcare providers are among the most influential factors in convincing people to be physically active or join a self-management program