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FOR RELEASE: May 15, 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Arthritis Cases Increase as Population Ages
May is Arthritis Month

Arthritis affects 46 million adults and is the most common physical cause of disability in the United States, according to public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). Nationally, arthritis and arthritis-related activity limitations are projected to increase as the population ages over the next 25 years. In Oklahoma, the projections are similar. Currently, there are 797,000 adult Oklahomans with doctor-diagnosed arthritis and related conditions. By the year 2030, the number of people with doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation will increase by at least 16 percent in 48 states, including Oklahoma.

The theme for National Arthritis Month in May is “Walk for Wellness,” which is intended to remind the thousands of Oklahomans with arthritis that walking, a simple and readily available form of physical activity, is an effective but underused intervention for managing arthritis.

“Walking is a low-impact exercise for most people with mild or moderate arthritis. People with arthritis can also reduce the impact of the disease by maintaining a healthy weight and getting educated about arthritis self-management,” said OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Program Coordinator and occupational therapist, Marisa New.

To help those with arthritis manage their disease, several community-based programs proven to be beneficial to people with arthritis are the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, Aquatics Program and the Arthritis Foundation Self Help Program. In addition to these programs, Oklahoma has been funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration on Aging to implement EnhanceFitness, a senior fitness program, and the Chronic Disease Self Management Program. These programs help reduce pain, improve function and mental health among persons with arthritis.

More information about the public health impact of arthritis is available at www.cdc.gov/arthritis.  Additional information about arthritis and local arthritis programs and services, including a free copy of “Walking and Arthritis” that has tips on getting started, staying injury-free, and keeping it fun, is available for download from the Arthritis Foundation at http://www.arthritis.org or by telephone at 800-568-4045.

Local activities planned for Arthritis Month include:
May 19            Arthritis Walk, Oklahoma City
                        To register: www.okcarthritiswalk.kintera.org
                        (405) 936-3366 or (800) 627-5486
May 19            Arthritis Walk, Norman
                        To register: www.normanarthritiswalk.kintera.org
                        (405) 936-3366 or (800) 627-5486
May 19            21st Anniversary Asian Festival, Oklahoma City
                        Arthritis Information Available
                        Oklahoma History Center
                        Contact: Tinny Chang (405) 722-1338
May 27            Arthritis Radio Presentation
                        Telemundo, Cable - Channel 5
                        "Physical Activity and Arthritis"
                        Robert Salinas, MD - family physician

For more information about additional activities occurring in your area, contact OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Program Coordinator Marisa New at 405-271-9444, ext. 56410 or marisan@health.ok.gov. 


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