As defined by the CDC:
Although the word arthritis actually means joint inflammation, we use the term arthritis in the public health world to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues which surround the joint and other connective tissue. The pattern, severity and location of symptoms can vary depending on the specific form of the disease. Typically, rheumatic conditions are characterized by pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints. The symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. Certain rheumatic conditions can also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body.
More information about common Arthritis Types is available.
- 50 million (22%) of adults have self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
- 21 million (9% of all adults) have arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation.
- 67 million (25%) adults aged 18 years or older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis by the year 2030.
- An estimated 37% (25 million adults) of those with arthritis will report arthritis-attributable activity limitations by the year 2030.
- Arthritis Prevalence in women and men
- Future Arthritis Burden
- Arthritis-Attributable Limitations
- Specific Functional Limitations Among People with Arthritis
- Excess Body Weight Among People With Arthritis
- Physical Activity Levels Among People With Arthritis
- Causes of Disability Among US Adults
Cheng YJ, Hootman JM, Murphy LB, Langmaid GA, Helmick CG.
Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable
activity limitation — United States, 2007–2009. MMWR 2010;59(39):1261–1265. html pdf [1.61 MB]
- Hootman JM, Helmick CG. Projections of U.S. prevalence of arthritis and associated activity limitations. Arthritis Rheum 2006;54(1):266–229. abstract
Estimates represented by an asterisk (*) have relative a standard error greater than 30% and do not meet the standards of reliability or precision.
South Carolina (state data)
|Adults with arthritis||934,000||967,000||956,000||1,022,000|
|Adults limited by arthritis||345,000||370,000||372,000||481,000|
|% of adults with arthritis||30||31||30||31|
|% women/men with arthritis||34/26||34/27||34/25||35/26|
|% whites with arthritis||32||31||32||32|
|% blacks with arthritis||28||28||25||26|
|% Hispanics with arthritis||27||21||18||22|
|% 18–44 year olds with arthritis||14||15||13||15|
|% 45–64 year olds with arthritis||42||41||40||40|
|% 65+ year olds with arthritis||58||59||58||55|
|% with arthritis who are overweight or obese||66||71||71||73|
|% with arthritis who are physically inactive||21||19||21||21|
|View a detailed summary of the most current estimates. [PDF - 135KB|
- The total costs attributable to arthritis and other
rheumatic conditions (AORC) in the United States in 2003 was
approximately $128 billion. This equaled 1.2% of the 2003 U.S. gross
- $80.8 billion were direct costs (i.e., medical expenditures)
- $47.0 billion were indirect costs (i.e., lost earnings)
- Total costs attributable to AORC, by state, ranged from
$226 million in the District of Columbia to $12.1 billion in
- National medical costs attributable to AORC grew by 24%
between 1997 and 2003. This rise in medical costs resulted from an
increase in the number of people with AORC.
- In 2003, costs attributable to AORC represented between
0.3 to 2.6% of each state’s GDP. For example: in 2003, the costs
attributable to AORC in West Virginia were $1.2 billion and this
represented 2.6% of West Virginia’s GDP.
- [Note: CDC is currently updating national cost estimates for AORC to 2008. The CDC Arthritis program is also a member of the CDC Chronic Disease Cost Calculator working group which is developing state-level cost estimates. AORC will be among the conditions included in the next release of the calculator.]
Yelin E, Murphy L, Cisternas M, Foreman A, Pasta D, Helmick C. Medical Care Expenditures and Earnings Losses Among Persons with Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Conditions in 2003, and Comparisons to 1997. Arthritis and Rheumatism 2007;56(5):1397-1407.
|$225 million to $574 million||$650 million to $1.6 billion||$1.9 billion to $2.9 billion||$3.2 billion to $12.1 billion|
|District of Columbia||226||Nebraska||757||Colorado||1,920||Indiana||3,181|
|North Dakota||285||Nevada||1,022||Minnesota||2,172||New Jersey||3,544|
|South Dakota||351||West Virginia||1,188||Kentucky||2,426||North Carolina||4,112|
|New Hampshire||574||Oklahoma||1,628||Washington||2,787||New York||8,726|
- The rise in medical expenditures in this time period is attributable to two distinct factors:
- The number of people with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions increased by 22%
- Medical expenditures for each person with arthritis increased by 15%
- From 1995 to 2005, the total national medical expenditures among adults with arthritis only remained stable.
- However, total medical expenditures rose by 27% among people who had arthritis and one or more co-occurring chronic conditions.
- This increase in expenditures resulted from a rise in number of people with arthritis who also have co-occurring chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
- In 1997, 36.8 million people with arthritis had co-occurring chronic conditions and by 2005, this had risen to 44.9 million people.
The presence of more than one disease or condition in the same person at the same time.
- Co-morbidities among people with arthritis. Everyone in this group has arthritis, plus at least one additional condition.
- Arthritis among people with other chronic conditions. A subset of people with other chronic conditions who also have arthritis.
Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are the most common cause of disability among U.S. adults and have been for the past 15 years.
Among all civilian, non-institutionalized U.S. adults 9.4% (21 million) report both doctor-diagnosed and arthritis attributable activity limitations.
42% of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis report arthritis-attributable activity limitations.
- walking 1/4 mile—6 million
- stooping/bending/kneeling—8 million
- climbing stairs—5 million
- social activities such as church and family gatherings—2 million
Approximately 1 in 3 people with arthritis (31%) in between the ages of 18 and 64 report arthritis-attributable work limitation.
About the CDCOur vision — a world where people with arthritis live the fullest life possible, with the ability to pursue valued life activities with minimal pain.
Our mission — to improve the quality of life of people affected by arthritis.
CDC and its partners are working to implement recommendations in the National Arthritis Action Plan: A Public Health Strategy [PDF–394K] and A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis [PDF - 3.33MB]. Each of these landmark public health plans were developed by CDC, the Arthritis Foundation, and a diverse group of other organizations. Each recommends a variety of activities to reduce pain, disability, and improve the quality of life of persons affected by arthritis.
- Improve and increase self-management attitudes and behaviors among persons with arthritis.
- Increase early diagnosis and appropriate pain management.
- Decrease pain and disability among persons with arthritis.
- Improve physical, psychosocial, and work function among persons with arthritis.
- Measure the burden of arthritis. At the
national level, CDC uses surveys of the National Center for Health
Statistics to define the burden of arthritis, monitor trends, and
assess how arthritis affects quality of life. At the state level,
CDC and states (all 50, District of Columbia, and the 3
territories) use the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to
obtain arthritis burden data.
- Strengthen the science base. CDC
conducts or supports research to define the impact of arthritis in
the United States. We also support research to both develop and
evaluate interventions to help people with arthritis improve their
quality of life.
- Increase Awareness. CDC, working with
the Arthritis Foundation, states, and other partners is
supporting two health communications campaigns promoting
physical activity among people with arthritis: Physical Activity. The Arthritis Pain Reliever for English speaking audiences, and Buenos Días, Artritis for Hispanic audiences.
- Build State Arthritis Programs. State Health Departments, with CDC support, are working to strengthen partnerships, increase public awareness, and expand the reach of interventions that have been proven to improve the quality of life of people with arthritis.
Find out more about our arthritis program partners.
- Four self-management education programs.
- Six physical activity programs.
- Two health communications campaigns promoting physical activity.
A journal article outlining the CDC Arthritis Program's screening criteria and selection process for recommending interventions for people with arthritis has been published. An overview of each recommended intervention and the implementation details is also included.
Brady TJ, Jernick SL, Hootman JM, Sniezek JE. Public health interventions for arthritis: expanding the toolbox of evidence-based interventions. Journal of Women’s Health 2009;18(12):1905–1917. abstract
- 50 million adults in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis (just over 1 in 5 adults). Read more.
- The percentage of adults with arthritis ranges from
20% in California to 36% in Kentucky. State median is 26% in 2009.
View the prevalence data for each state – list of states – clickable map.
- Arthritis affects all race and ethnic groups: 36
million whites, 4.6 million blacks, 2.9 million Hispanics, 280,000
American Indians/Alaska Natives, 667,000 Asian/Pacific Islanders, and
469,000 multiracial/others. Read more.
- The risk of arthritis increases with age and is more common among women than men. Read more.
- In all U.S. states, 1 in 3 working-age adults (18-64
years old) face work limitations they attribute to arthritis; the
prevalence of work limitations due to arthritis varies by state. Read more.
- An estimated 294,000 children under age 18 have some form of arthritis or rheumatic condition, this represents approximately 1 in every 250 children. abstract – arthritis type table – state table
- Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. Read more. View graph.
- Number of U. S. Adults Reporting a Disability is Increasing — A
new CDC study shows that 47.5 million US adults (21.8%) reported a
disability 1 in 2005, an increase of 3.4 million from 1999.
Arthritis or rheumatism (8.6 million) continues to be the most
common cause of disability, while back or spine problems (7.6 million)
and heart trouble (3.0 million) round out the top three causes.
Read more in the MMWR and CDC Feature.
- Nearly 21 million adults say that arthritis limits their usual activities in some way. Read more.
- State-specific prevalence estimates of
arthritis-attributable work limitation show a high impact of
arthritis on working-age (18-64 years) adults in all U.S. states,
ranging from a low of 3.4% to a high of 15% of 1 in 2 adults with
arthritis in this age group. Read more. State maps relating to this publication are available. Map 1 and Map 2
- 8.2 million working aged U.S. adults (about 1 in 20) report work limitations due to arthritis or joint symptoms. Read more.
- Blacks and Hispanics with arthritis have almost twice the prevalence of work limitation and severe pain compared to Whites. Read more.
- In 2003, the total cost attributed to arthritis and
other rheumatic conditions in the United States was 128 billion
dollars, up from 86.2 billion dollars in 1997. ($80.8 billion in
medical care expenditures and $47 billion in earnings losses). Read more.
- Medical expenditures (direct costs) for arthritis and
other rheumatic conditions in 2003 were 80.8 billion dollars, up from
51.1 billion in 1997. Read more.
- Earnings losses (indirect costs) for arthritis and
other rheumatic conditions in 2003 were 47 billion dollars, up from
35.1 billion in 1997. Read more.
- States ranged from $121 million in Wyoming to $8.4 billion in California. Read more.
- Effective strategies exist to reduce the impact of arthritis. Read more.
- Anticipating employment disability due to arthritis and addressing employment barriers through increased education, awareness, workplace accommodations, and other interventions can help reduce arthritis disability in the U.S. workforce. Read more.
- A new CDC study shows that arthritis may be
an unrecognized barrier for adults with heart disease attempting to
manage their condition through physical activity; 29% of people with
both conditions are physically inactive compared to 21% with heart
disease alone. Read more in the MMMWR and CDC Feature.
- More than half of adults with diagnosed diabetes also have arthritis. The study found that 29.8% of adults with arthritis and diabetes were physically inactive, compared with 21% of people with diabetes alone. Among people with diabetes, the high frequency of arthritis appears to be an under recognized barrier to increasing physical activity, a recommended diabetes intervention. Engaging in joint friendly activities; such as, walking, swimming, biking, and participating in available arthritis-specific exercise interventions can help manage both conditions. Read more.
Are you surprised by any of these statements? If so, you’re not alone. Most of us don’t realize the significant and serious impact arthritis has on a person’s quality of life, our country’s economy, and the health of our nation. It is more than “just aches and pains.”