Arthritis in America

Managing Symptoms with physical activity and education

Arthritis limits daily activities of 24 million adults in the United States, making it hard for them to hold a cup, lift a grocery bag, or walk to their car. And, the percentage of adults limited by arthritis continues to get worse and has increased by about 20 percent since 2002.

Overall, arthritis—a condition that can result in pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling of the joints—is at an all-time high. More than 54 million adults in the US have it. That’s about 1 in 4 US adults who have arthritis. Almost 60 percent, or about 32 million, of those with arthritis are of working age (ages 18-64).

Symptoms can be reduced with physical activity and educational programs. When people with arthritis engage in physical activity they can reduce their arthritis symptoms by up to 40 percent. Adults with arthritis also can reduce their symptoms by participating in disease management education programs.

CDC researchers analyzed findings from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey for the adults with arthritis and arthritis-related activity limitations data.

Seniors Working Out

Seniors Working Out

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About 1 in 4 (54 million) US adults have arthritis.

About 1 in 4 (54 million) US adults have arthritis.

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Arthritis limits the activities of about 24 million adults.

About 24 million adults are limited in their activities from arthritis.

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Adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by about 40% by being physically active.

Adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by about 40% by being physically active.

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Infographic: Arthritis effects can be reduced with physical activity.

Infographic: Arthritis effects can be reduced with physical activity.

Arthritis will increaase as the population grows and ages. Diagnosed and future projections. Infographic shows 46 million people diagnosed in 2004, 54 million diagnosed in 2014, and a projection of 78 million future dianoses by 2040

Arthritis will increaase as the population grows and ages. Diagnosed and future projections.

Arthritis Worsens Life for 24 Million US Adults. Symptoms can be reduced with physical activity and educational programs.

Arthritis Worsens Life for 24 Million US Adults. Symptoms can be reduced with physical activity and educational programs.

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Adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by about 40% by being physically active.

Adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by about 40% by being physically active.

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Arthritis in America - a man running through hills with his dog

Arthritis in America

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women on a brisk walk

Women on a brisk walk

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women walking for exercise

Women walking for exercise

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A couple walking a dog on a grassy hillside

Arthritis in America

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women doing toe-touch exercises

Arthritis in America

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a middle-aged woman swimming

Arthritis in America

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a couple hiking

Arthritis in America

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Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Vital Signs Links

Factsheet:
English pdf icon[2.95 MB]
Spanish pdf icon[3.06 MB]

Spokespersons

“Arthritis symptoms keep millions of Americans from living life to the fullest. Doctors and loved ones can help people with arthritis by encouraging them to be as physically active as they can be.  Physical activity is a proven strategy to ease pain and reduce symptoms among people with arthritis.”

Anne Schuchat, MD – Principal Deputy Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“It’s extremely important for primary care providers to encourage their patients with arthritis to be physically active. It is just as important for them to motivate their patients to attend workshops to learn how to better manage their arthritis.”

CDR (Sel.) Kamil E. Barbour, PhD, MPH, MS – Epidemiologist, CDC’s Arthritis Program

Page last reviewed: March 7, 2017