Did you know that arthritis isn’t a single disease? The term actually refers to joint pain or joint disease, and there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions.
May is recognized annually as Arthritis Awareness Month – an opportunity for us to join the Arthritis Foundation and other organizations to share information about arthritis and ways you can treat or manage it.
Here are some fast facts from the Arthritis Foundation:
- Nearly 53 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That number is expected to grow to 67 million by 2030.
- Almost 300,000 babies, kids and teens have arthritis or a rheumatic condition.
- Arthritis is the nation’s number one cause of disability.
- Working-age men and women (ages 18-64) with arthritis are less likely to be employed than those of the same age without arthritis.
- 1/3 of working-age people with arthritis have limitations in their ability to work, the type of work they can do or whether they can work part- or full-time.
- People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (the to most prevalent kinds) miss a combined 172 million workdays a year.
- Arthritis and related conditions account for more than $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses.
- There are nearly 1 million hospitalizations each year due to arthritis.
- 57% of adults with heart disease have arthritis.
- 52% of adults with diabetes have arthritis.
- 44% of adults with high blood pressure have arthritis.
- 36% of adults who are obese have arthritis.
- 1/3 of adults age 45 and older who have arthritis also suffer from anxiety or depression.
While there is currently no cure for arthritis, it can be treated and managed. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise:
Talking to your doctor if you experience joint pain or other symptoms. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible, so you can start treatment. The focus of arthritis treatment is to reduce pain, minimize join damage and improve or maintain quality of life.
Being active is a simple, effective and drug-free way to relieve arthritis pain.
Maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess weight is really important for people with arthritis. Too much weight stresses joints – particularly the hips and knees. Losing as little as 10 to 12 pounds can reduce pain and improve physical function.
Protecting your joints, because injuries can worsen arthritis. Choose low-impact activities that are easy on the joints like walking, bicycling and swimming.
Learning new self-management skills by joining a self-management education workshop. These CDC-recognized sessions can help you learn skills to manage your arthritis and make good decisions about your help. Click here to learn more about the programs.
For more information or to learn about resources in your area, visit arthritis.org or talk to your personal physician.