The word arthritis actually means joint inflammation. The term arthritis applies to more than 100 different conditions of unknown or varied causes. Joint involvement is the most characteristic aspect of arthritis, but various forms can also result in such problems as kidney disease, blindness, and premature death. Arthritis causes pain, loss of movement, and sometimes swelling of joints and tissues. Common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus (also known as Lupus or SLE).
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To learn more about other types of arthritis and related diseases, click here.
Risk factors for arthritis are both modifiable and nonmodifiable.
- Joint Injury
- Nonpharmalogical Therapies
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Splint or joint assistive aids
- Patient education and support
- Weight Loss
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis and chronic joint symptoms affect 50 million Americans, making it one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States (based on 2007-09 NHIS data). As the population ages, it is estimated that the number will increase to 67 million by 2030. In 2003, the total health care cost resulting from arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the U.S. was $128 billion ($81 billion in direct costs and $47 billion in indirect costs). With the increased prevalence projections for 2030, the cost resulting from arthritis will continue to increase as well.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States and is one of Missouri's most prevalent chronic health problems, affecting 1.325 million Missourians (2009, BRFSS) with a projected increase of 1.72 million by 2030. In 2003, the total cost resulting from arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in Missouri was over $2.8 billion.
In an effort to address the impact of arthritis, CDC recommends the following:
- Learning techniques to manage arthritis
- Being physically active
- Controlling weight
- Consulting a physician
Missouri developed seven Regional Arthritis Centers (known as RACs) to focus efforts toward the CDC recommendations by offering physical activity and self-management programs for persons and families affected by arthritis and other chronic conditions. Only 10 percent of Missourians with arthritis have ever taken a class to manage their arthritis (2009, BRFSS).
Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program uses gentle activities to help increase joint flexibility and range-of-motion. All of the exercises can be modified to meet participants needs. Trained instructors also include relaxation techniques and health education topics. Classes typically meet for 1 hour 2 -3 times per week.
Walk With Ease was designed specifically for adults with arthritis, but can be a beneficial program for any adult looking to develop a personalized walking plan, stay motivated while managing pain and learn safe exercise methods. A trained instructor facilitates the group version of this program; there is also an individual verson of the program which is completed independently. Group classes meet for 45-90 minutes three times per week.
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) teaches skills to manage common problems related to having a chronic condition such as arthritis, diabetes, lung disease, and heart disease but is useful for managing a variety of chronic diseases. Classes led by trained instructors meet 2 1/2 hours, once a week for 6 weeks.
Tomando Control de su Salud, similar to the CDSMP, teaches skills to manage common problems related to having a chronic condition such as arthritis, diabetes, lung disease, and heart disease but is useful for managing a variety of chronic health conditions. The course was designed specifically for Spanish-speaking people and is culturally appropriate for Hispanic and Latino/a cultures. Classes led by trained instructors meet 2 1/2 hours, once a week for 6 weeks.
The Arthritis Toolkit includes the basic building blocks needed to create a personal approach to managing arthritis and related conditions, including osteoporisis and fibromyalgia, at home. The toolkit includes The Arthritis Helpbook, exercise & relaxation CDs, and information packets that encourage goal-setting & action-planning. The toolkits can be checked out for 6 weeks through your local Regional Arthritis Center.
Arthritis and Physical Activity
More than 50 percent of individuals with arthritis do not get the recommended levels of nonoccupational physical activity. Increasing physical activity is essential in the management of arthritis, since physical activity has many noteworthy benefits including:
- Reduced pain
- Improved physical function
- Improved mental health
- Improved quality of life
If you experience the pain and stiffness of arthritis, there’s something you can do about it. Get more physical activity.
Recent studies show that moderate physical activity three or more days per week can help to relieve arthritis pain and stiffness and give you more energy. Regular physical activity can also lift your mood and make you feel more positive.
Find out more about what moderate physical activity is, what types are suitable for people with arthritis, and other helpful information by clicking on the resources below.
Arthritis and Other Chronic Conditions
With so many Missouri adults who report having another chronic condition, it is important to address the unique barriers that having arthritis presents to participating in physical activity, especially since physical activity is often recommended to individuals who have other chronic conditions as a strategy for management.
- 55.5% of adults with diabetes also have arthritis (2011, BRFSS)
- 64.1% of adults with heart disease also have arthritis (2011, BRFSS)
- 47.4% of adults with high blood pressure also have arthritis (2011, BRFSS)
- 45.6% of adults with high cholesterol also have arthritis (2011, BRFSS)
Arthritis and Weight
Reducing the prevalence of overweight/obesity among Missouri adults who are diagnosed with specific types of arthritis can help reduce the development of symptoms of those conditions. For example, weight control can lower a person’s risk for developing osteoarthritis, and weight loss can reduce symptoms for people with knee osteoarthritis.
- 27.5% of adults who are overweight have arthritis (2011, BRFSS)
- 38.3% of adults who are obese have arthritis (2011, BRFSS)
For more information on arthritis and its management, see the information in Related Links.