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Arthritis Fact Sheet

Arthritis Reports

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis comprises over 100 different diseases and conditions. The most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Common symptoms include pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in or around the joints. Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, affect multiple organs and cause widespread symptoms.

Here is a list of the many Types of Arthritis.

Why is Arthritis a Public Health Problem?

Arthritis affects an estimated 50 million adults (1 in 5) in the United States, making it one of our most common diseases. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States, limiting everyday activities for millions of Americans. The estimated total cost (2003), including lost productivity, exceeds $128 billion.

Who Gets Arthritis?

Arthritis is not only an older person’s disease. Arthritis affects young people and people of all racial and ethnic groups but is more common among women and older Americans.

What Can Be Done to Control and Prevent Arthritis?

Some forms of arthritis can be prevented. For example, weight control and injury prevention measures lower the risk for developing osteoarthritis. For any form of arthritis, early diagnosis and appropriate management can reduce symptoms, lessen the disability, and improve functioning. Self-management activities, such as weight control and regular physical activity, are important in managing arthritis. DHEC, in partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, is working to expand self-management and exercise programs in South Carolina to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis.

How is the Burden of Arthritis Measured?

The CDC uses the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in all 50 states to collect health information from adults age 18 years and older about the risk factors and risk behaviors related to the major causes of morbidity and mortality. The SC BRFSS data is being used to obtain state-specific arthritis data on prevalence, quality of life, activity limitation, and risk factors. Using the CDC case definition, people with arthritis are defined as those having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The Burden of Arthritis in South Carolina (pdf) report provides detailed information about the burden and impact of arthritis in the state.

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