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Five Key Public Health Messages

The CDC’s arthritis program promotes five key messages to help individuals affected by arthritis be in control of their condition, and their lives. These five key messages describe simple, natural, and understandable techniques that are easy to implement:

  1. Learn Arthritis Management Strategies
    • Arthritis management strategies provide those with arthritis with the skills and confidence to effectively manage their condition.
    • These techniques have proven to be valuable for helping people change their behavior and better manage their arthritis symptoms.
    • Interactive workshops such as the Arthritis Self-Management Program and the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program are low-cost (about $25 - $35) and available in communities across the country. Attending one of these programs can help a person learn ways to manage pain, exercise safely, and gain control of arthritis.
  2. Be Active
    • Research shows physical activity decreases pain, improves function and delays disability.
    • It is recommended that people with arthritis undertake 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 times a week, or a total of 150 minutes per week. The 30 minutes can be broken down into three ten minute sessions throughout the day.
    • There are exercise programs, such as EnhanceFitness and Walk with Ease, that can help people with arthritis increase their physical activity safely and comfortably.
    • Details of the types of physical activity that is appropriate for individuals living with arthritis can be found at: Physical Activity for Arthritis .
  3. Watch Your Weight
    • Research confirms that maintaining a healthy weight can limit disease progression and activity limitation.
    • For every pound lost, there is a 4 pound reduction in the load exerted on the knee.
    • A modest weight loss (5% or 12 pounds for a 250 pound person) can help reduce pain and disability.
  4. See Your Doctor
    • Early diagnosis and professionally guided management is critical to maintaining a good quality of life, particularly for people with inflammatory arthritis.
    • Essential disease modifying drugs are beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory arthritis conditions and are available only by prescription.
  5. Protect Your Joints
    • Sports or occupational based injuries to joints can increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. Jobs that have repetitive motions, for example repeated knee bending, place individuals at higher risk.
    • Avoiding injuries to joints can reduce the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis.