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1 in 4 U.S. Adults Disabled by Arthritis: CDC

Posted on December 20, 2018


By Margaret Farley Steele, HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Arthritis is expanding its grip on Americans, with 24 million adults limited in their everyday activities because of the debilitating joint disease, U.S. health officials say.

Overall, 54 million adults -- or one in four -- report an arthritis diagnosis. And the number of people disabled by it has jumped 20 percent since 2002, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

"Arthritis symptoms keep millions of Americans from going about their daily routines," CDC acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat said in an agency news release.

The joint aches, stiffness and swelling of arthritis can make holding a glass, carrying a grocery bag, or walking a short distance difficult or even impossible, the agency said.

Why so many Americans have arthritis isn't clear, and can't be attributed solely to an aging population. Almost two of five adults with arthritis are of working age -- 18 to 64 years old, the CDC said.

The most common types are osteoarthritis, which is age-related wear and tear; rheumatoid arthritis; gout; lupus; and fibromyalgia, the CDC reported.

Arthritis costs at least $81 billion in direct medical costs annually, the agency said.

Although narcotic painkillers are often prescribed for arthritis, other options are safer, the CDC added.

Instead of opioids, doctors and loved ones can encourage people with arthritis to exercise and watch their weight. "Physical activity is a proven strategy to ease pain and reduce symptoms among people with arthritis," Schuchat said.

Exercise -- such as walking, swimming or biking -- can reduce symptoms by as much as 40 percent. Yet, about one-third of adults with arthritis aren't active, the CDC noted in its March 7 Vital Signs.

Self-management education is another important arthritis tool that doctors need to recommend, the report co-author said.


Along with physical activity, "it is just as important for them [doctors] to motivate their patients to attend workshops to learn how to better manage their arthritis," said epidemiologist Kamil Barbour, of the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

People are more likely to attend an education program if a health care provider recommends it. But to date, only 1 in 10 Americans has participated in this type of program, the CDC reported.

The report also found that arthritis frequently occurs with other health conditions, namely heart disease, diabetes or obesity. These conditions become harder to manage with arthritis, the agency said.


SOURCE: Vital Signs, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 7, 2017
Note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate.
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved.

Here are some questions and conversations from myRAteam:

If you have been to a SS disability hearing can you tell me what to be prepare for?

I know at the end of the day it's a personal preference, but do you prefer disabled parking plates or the placard?

How many of you are currently on disability due to RA?

"I had to stop working 2 yrs ago. Still fighting with disability. My RA dr is out of options for me. I haven't responded to anything. I need help, but don't know who to ask or where to go."

"The babies are a HUGE blessing, but for me its been a roller coaster of emotions: living 1000 miles away, and in a never ending flare, and working on my disabilities claims."

"I have had to switch jobs a few times because I just couldn't do it with the pain, but now I'm working part time and it still is a struggle. I did apply for disability, but of course was denied, but have an appeal in Jan. Just don't know if I should even try?"

Are you living with other medical conditions that make it hard to control your RA? Share in the comments below or directly on myRAteam.

A myRAteam Member said:

For me I have it on my lower back ankles hands and sometimes my knees

posted 24 days ago

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