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Notice to Readers: National Arthritis Month --- May 2002

May is National Arthritis Month. Systemic lupus erythematosus, one of more than 100 arthritis and rheumatic conditions, is a chronic and potentially life-threatening inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting approximately 43 million persons in 1997 and possibly 60 million by 2020 (1,2). Early diagnosis and appropriate management are needed for better control of arthritis. CDC, the Arthritis Foundation, the Lupus Foundation of America, and other organizations continue to work to meet the goals of the National Arthritis Action Plan: A Public Health Strategy (3) and the arthritis-related national health objectives for 2010 (4).

Additional information about arthritis, National Arthritis Month, Arthritis Action Day, the National Arthritis Action Plan, and local Arthritis Foundation programs and services is available from the Arthritis Foundation, telephone 800-283-7800, or at Information about systemic lupus erythematosus, patient education programs, and support services is available from the Lupus Foundation of America, telephone 800-558-0121, or at


  1. CDC. Prevalence of disabilities and associated health conditions among adults---United States, 1999. MMWR 2001;50:120--5.
  2. CDC. Arthritis prevalence and activity limitations---United States, 1990. MMWR 1994;43:433--8.
  3. Arthritis Foundation, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and CDC. National arthritis action plan: a public health strategy. Atlanta, Georgia: Arthritis Foundation, 1999.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy people 2010 (conference ed., 2 vols). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000.

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