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Arthritis Prevalence, Activity Limitations To Skyrocket, Act Now To Reduce Future Disability, Arthritis Foundation Warns, USA

16 May 2007

A new report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed arthritis prevalence and activity limitations will increase substantially in all but two states and the District of Columbia by 2030. The announcement comes on the heels of a recent report projecting a nationwide surge in arthritis prevalence, from 46 million U.S. adults to 67 million by 2030. Americans must take action now to limit future disability, warns the Arthritis Foundation.

The CDC report, released during National Arthritis Month, indicates that arthritis and other rheumatic conditions will be a growing problem for U.S. states in the years ahead due primarily to the aging population. By year 2030, the number of people with doctor-diagnosed arthritis will increase an average of 16% in 48 states. More alarming, 14 states are projected to have increases ranging from 30% to 87%, including more than a million new people affected each in Calif., Fla.and Texas. In addition, 25 million adults are expected to have arthritis-attributable activity limitations by 2030.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability and limits activity for 19 million of the 46 million U.S. adults with the disease. It also exacts a hefty financial toll on the country -- $128 billion annually.

"Sedentary lifestyles, expanding waistlines and aging baby boomers are contributing to the increasing prevalence of arthritis," said Patience White, M.D., chief public health officer, Arthritis Foundation. "But there are simple steps you can take now to decrease pain, improve quality of life and limit disability."

May is National Arthritis Month and there's no better time to take action. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following tips to reduce the impact of arthritis.

-- Know Your Type. With more than 100 different forms of arthritis, each requiring a specific treatment plan, it's important to see your doctor for an early and accurate diagnosis.

-- Get Active. Regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. Walking just as little as 30 minutes - even 10 minutes three times a day - can ease joint pain, improve mobility and reduce fatigue. The Arthritis Foundation offers joint-safe physical activity programs proven to decrease pain and increase flexibility and range of motion.

-- Control Weight. Maintaining an appropriate weight or reducing weight to a recommended level reduces the risk of osteoarthritis. Losing just 10 pounds relieves 40 pounds of pressure on knees, and losing as little as 11 pounds may reduce joint pain and help prevent knee osteoarthritis. For those living with symptoms, losing 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half.

-- Prevent Sports Injuries. Young- and middle-age adults should take preventive measures now to minimize joint injuries, which put them at considerably increased risk for osteoarthritis later in life.

-- Modify Job Tasks. Repeated use of joints in jobs that require bending and lifting is associated with an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. Speak with a health care professional about ways to reduce strain on your joints.

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