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Fact Sheet

May 13, 2004 Contact:
CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
(770) 488-5131

Facts about Prevalence of Arthritis—U.S., 2004

Statistics and Burden:

  • Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability in the United States.
  • Arthritis comprises over 100 different disease and conditions. The most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout.
  • Arthritis is estimated to cost $51 billion in medical costs and $86 billion in total costs.
  • Arthritis limits everyday activities for 8 million Americans.
  • According to CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which provides the main source of state arthritis data, 49 million American adults reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and another 21 million reported chronic joint symptoms (CJS) in 2001.
  • The number of people age 65 and older who have arthritis or chronic joint symptoms is projected to nearly double from 21.4 million in 2001 to 41.4 million in 2030 as the population ages.
  • Older adults 65 years of age or older have the highest risk of arthritis (58.8 percent), but two-thirds of all people with arthritis are younger than age 65. Arthritis was noticeably higher for women (37.3 percent) than for men (28.4 percent).
  • Research shows that physical activity decreases joint pain, improves function and delays disability. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding joint injuries reduces the risk of developing arthritis and decreases disease progression.

Arthritis Program Highlights:

  • CDC currently funds 36 states to implement programs to improve the quality of life of people that have arthritis.
  • Arthritis programs in funded state health departments* are working with their state Arthritis Foundation partners to expand the availability of :
    • Arthritis Self Help Course – a program to help people with arthritis better manage their condition.
    • People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) – a program that teaches people with arthritis how to safely increase their level of physical activity.
  • CDC is also encouraging people with arthritis to become more active. Of the 36 funded states, 35 will implement “The Arthritis Pain Reliever” health communications campaign. This campaign promotes physical activity to relieve arthritis pain among people aged 45-64.

* CDC-funded state health department arthritis programs: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.


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This page last updated May 13, 2004

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