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Surprising Facts About Arthritis

May 9, 2019
Published in: Joint

Therapist holding a patient's arm

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis is a condition that impacts more than 50 million Americans every year. But even still, misconceptions and myths remain. Today, we wanted to highlight 23 facts about arthritis that may surprise you.

  1. Arthritis is a blanket term. There are more than 100 types of arthritis.

  2. There is no cure for arthritis.

  3. About 1 in 4 adults in the US have some form of the condition. That’s about 54 million people.

  4. Sixty percent of US adults with arthritis are of working age (18 to 64).

  5. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which causes pain and stiffness in joints. Osteoarthritis can occur in the hand, wrist, neck, back, keen, and hip.

  6. Other forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus although there are many more.

  7. $140 billion is spent each year on direct medical costs related to arthritis.

  8. Nearly 300,000 babies and children have arthritis or a rheumatic condition.

  9. Arthritis occurs more commonly in adults who are obese than in adults who are normal weight or underweight.

  10. By 2040, estimates predict that doctor-diagnosed arthritis will impact 78.4 million adults. That’s more people than live in the United Kingdom.

  11. In some cases, an athletic injury, such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can lead to arthritis later in life.

  12. Rheumatoid arthritis, the next most common after osteoarthritis, is caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues.

  13. Gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid in the joints, which leads to the formation of painful needle-like crystal deposits.

  14. A doctor that specializes in arthritis is called a rheumatologist.

  15. Only 7 percent of rheumatologists practice in rural areas, where 20 percent of the population lives.

  16. About one-third of the population of adults who are obese also have arthritis.

  17. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

  18. Each year, 172 million workdays are lost due to arthritis.

  19. The average adult with arthritis earned on average $4,040 less than an adult without the disease.

  20. Combining direct medical costs and lost revenues, arthritis cost the United States about $304 billion dollars in 2013 alone.

  21. Arthritis is more common in women (26%) than in men (18%).

  22. There are ways to reduce the pain associated with arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in low-impact exercise, and joining a self-management education program can help those who suffer.

  23. The CDC supports national organizations as they implement intervention programs. The National Recreation and Park Association, for example, has implemented CDC funding to support at least 240 local park agencies in 48 states.

If you have joint pain, begin by speaking with your primary care provider. If you are looking for a rheumatologist, contact the Augusta health Rheumatology and Osteoporosis Clinic.