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FOR RELEASE: July 5, 2004
Arthritis - An Increasing Public Health Problem
Forty-nine million American adults reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and another 21 million stated they had chronic joint symptoms in 2001, according to the latest statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BFRSS).
In the first state-specific estimates of doctor-diagnosed arthritis, the CDC says that one in four adults in 30 states was diagnosed with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions. In Oklahoma, with a population of more than three million, the implications are sobering. There are 726,000 Oklahoma adults who report that they have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions while 444,000 report they have possible arthritis (BRFSS, 2002). Officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) say that the problem is likely to grow as Oklahoma’s population ages.
CDC estimates the economic and societal burden of arthritis nationally as one percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, or $86.2 billion. Of that amount, $51.1 billion are in medical care expenditures and $35.1 billion are in lost earnings. The economic burden in Oklahoma is $1.2 billion.
“Medical costs associated with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are predicted to rise as the population ages and because new medical interventions are more costly,” said Marisa New, coordinator for the OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Program. “It is our hope that costs will be reduced and quality of life increased through more widespread use of public health programs to increase physical activity, maintain healthy weight, and expand self-help options to manage pain and disability.”
Some CDC findings about the burden of arthritis in the United States include the following:
“Research shows that physical activity decreases joint pain, improves function and delays disability. In addition, avoiding joint injuries and increasing physical activity will help reduce the risk of developing arthritis and delays disease progression,” New said.
The Oklahoma Arthritis Network promotes the following Arthritis Foundation programs:
For more information and/or to receive a copy of the soon-to-be-released 2004 Arthritis Data Report, “The Painful Truth,” contact the OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Program at 405/271-9444, ext. 56520, or visit these Web sites: www.health.state.ok.us/program/apep/ and www.arthritis.org .
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