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Have Arthritis? Take Action

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of disability. Four strategies can help people with arthritis thrive.

In the U.S., 53 million adults live with arthritis and almost half of adults 65 years of age or older have the condition. Limitations to daily activities caused by arthritis are common, affecting 23 million adults. Millions report significant limitations including walking short distances (1/4 mile), stooping, bending, or kneeling; climbing stairs; and social activities. Those reporting the most limitations are adults with both arthritis and other chronic diseases and conditions2,3—most commonly diabetes,2 heart disease,3 and obesity.4 Co-occurring disorders can make life even more difficult and limited for those affected.

There is good news, however. The pain and limitations caused by arthritis and other co-occurring disorders can be managed. Effective strategies can improve quality-of-life, reduce disability, and help people live better and thrive.

Live Better by Being Active

Physical activity has been proven to reduce pain and improve function in people with arthritis.6 It can help prevent or delay arthritis progression and disability, and allow those affected by arthritis to maintain independence. Physical activity also can help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions they may have—such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—and improve mood.

Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy and there are many types of exercise to choose from, even for those who have arthritis-specific limitations to exercise or concerns about worsening their arthritis, aggravating arthritis pain and causing further joint damage.

  • Several group physical activity classes specifically appropriate for people with arthritis, like Walk With Ease and Enhance Fitness, are recommended by CDC and are made available in communities across the country. These programs can help people with arthritis achieve fitness and activity goals and have been shown to provide many benefits.
  • Moderate-intensity, low-impact activities, such as walking, biking, swimming, and water aerobics—are also good forms of exercise that are safe for most adults with arthritis.6
  • Any activity is better than none. Activity can be broken up into increments as small as 10 minutes for health benefits. For example, three 10-minute bouts of physical activity is an acceptable way to meet a daily goal of 30 minutes. It’s never too late to start.

Live Better by Learning Skills

Self-management education classes, such as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, have been proven to increase exercise, confidence in making healthy lifestyle changes, and the ability to do household and social activities, and decrease depression, pain, and frustration about health. Self-management education classes help people learn techniques to reduce pain and improve function and to develop skills and confidence to manage arthritis and other conditions daily. Using these skills can make it easier to age well with arthritis.

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