May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. The ACR is committed to ensuring that arthritis and rheumatologic diseases are at the forefront of public awareness—and that better, safer treatments reach Americans in need. Fortunately, the federal government is also doing its part and has just released a major report on the national impact of arthritis.
Explore this issueMay 2017
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A Growing Public Health Concern
In March 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Vital Signs Data on Arthritis in America and the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation in United States, 2013–2015.1,2 Both reports are multifaceted, but the findings are profound in that the burden of arthritis is increasing.
Arthritis is common, expensive and a leading cause of disability. Arthritis causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness, whose negative impact on lives can levy a severe physical and emotional toll on patients. Arthritis prevalence is on the rise in the U.S., with nearly one in four adults (or 54 million) Americans now living with doctor-diagnosed arthritis and 24 million Americans experiencing limitation in their activities because of their disease. About 32 million (or 60% of) adults with arthritis are of working age (18–64 years) and have lower employment than those without arthritis. The economic impact is staggering. Arthritis costs at least $81 billion in direct medical costs annually.