May 2nd, 2022

Arthritis is one of the most widespread health conditions in the United States. It impacts more than 50 million Americans, making it the number one cause of disability in the country. It affects working-age adults, older adults, and even children. 
May is recognized as National Arthritis Awareness Month and the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center wants to do its part to help our community know its health impacts and how to manage it.

Arthritis is a general term for conditions that affect the joints or tissues around the joint. There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Main symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. See CDC Arthritis to learn more.

Did you know? Researchers found that more adults in rural areas are affected by arthritis than in urban areas, and that adults living in the most rural areas were more limited by their arthritis too. Read the published CDC Analysis to learn more.

Health impacts

(by the numbers)

Arthritis is a common health threat that can be disabling and make it harder to manage everyday tasks. 

  • About 1 in 4 (54 million) US adults have arthritis
  • Almost 300,000 babies, kids and teens have arthritis or a rheumatic condition
  • Nearly 60% of adults with arthritis are women
  • About 24 million adults are limited in their activities from arthritis
  • More than 1 in 4 adults with arthritis report severe joint pain
  • Arthritis impacts adults with heart disease (49%), diabetes (47%), and obesity (31%)
  • Working-age adults (ages 18-64) with arthritis have lower employment than those without it
  • There are nearly 1 million hospitalizations each year due to arthritis
  • And more... 

Managing Arthritis

Let's get moving

Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to manage your arthritis including simple ways to reduce symptoms and get relief so you can engage in activities that you enjoy most. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these are 5 Ways to Manage Arthritis

  1. Learn self-management skills. Join a self-management education workshop to learn about managing arthritis and making good decisions about your health.
  2. Be active. Physical activity is a simple and effective way to relieve arthritis pain without medication.
  3. Talk to your doctor. It's important to get an accurate diagnosis so you can start treatment and work to minimize arthritis pain.
  4. Manage your weight. For people with obesity, losing weight reduces stress on joints, particularly weight bearing joints like the hips and knees.
  5. Protect your joints. Joint injuries can cause or worsen arthritis. Choose activities that are easy on the joints like walking, bicycling, and swimming. 

The first and easiest of the above suggestions is to be active. So, let's get moving! Walking has been shown to improve arthritis pain, fatigue, function, and quality of life. 
Walking is a great way for people with arthritis who live in rural areas to be physically active. The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center encourages people in our community to begin a walking program or recommit to a walking routine – and there's no better time to start than during Arthritis Awareness Month!

Source: CDC and Arthritis Foundation