It's an epidemic spreading steadily and painfully, joint by joint. Arthritis now afflicts nearly 1 in 4 American adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Thursday. [CDC news release]
It found that 22.7 percent of U.S. adults - 52.5 million people - have arthritis, and that 22.7 million of them say arthritis is limiting their daily activities. In all, the number of adults with arthritis rose 2.5 million during the 2010-12 period studied, compared with the previous analysis, covering 2007-09. Mayo Clinic rheumatologist Shreyasee Amin, M.D., offers these comments on the CDC statistics:
“The aging population in general is increasing, and osteoarthritis, which is the most common form for arthritis and which doesn’t get a lot of attention in the media, is probably one of the things that’s contributing to that increase.”
“The fact that obesity is certainly an increasing problem in the country and obesity contributes to a higher risk of osteoarthritis in the knees in particular, that might be one of the reasons that we’re seeing this increase.”
“It’s sort of a catch-22 or a vicious circle that people run into: If you’re in pain you aren’t physically active, it puts you at risk for other conditions like osteoporosis, it may make you more prone to falling and breaking a bone. If you’re overweight because you’re not active enough anymore, you’re more likely to get diabetes and its complications maybe further aggravate heart disease, and some forms of obesity have been linked to cancer. So I think it really is important for us to recognize arthritis, do what we can and study it better so that we can improve the health of people before they get to that point where they’re into that level of pain and injury.”
“I think because arthritis is so linked to other diseases, and physical inactivity that can result from arthritis can contribute to other complications like obesity, leading to diabetes and further problems with heart disease, I think more attention needs to be drawn to preventing arthritis, understanding the mechanisms that contribute to osteoarthrtis in particular, which is so common, and I hope that helps spur our research dollars to better understand this condition and prevent it.”
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Amin are available in the downloads. To interview Dr. Amin, Dr. Krych or other Mayo Clinic experts on arthritis, please contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-284-5005.
There are more than 100 forms of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common.