More Americans Experiencing the Debilitating Effects of Arthritis

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Over 50 million Americans live with the painful and sometimes life-changing effects of arthritis. That number has remained constant over the past few years. According to a new report from the CDC, what has changed is the number of people reporting that their arthritis is limiting their daily activities. Of those diagnosed with the disease, the number who report trouble with daily activities rose from 8.5 to 9.4 percent over the past 4 years. But why?

We all have aches and pains from time to time, but can you imagine experiencing pain from simple tasks like buttoning your shirt or brushing your hair? Things like getting dressed or climbing up the stairs might sound easy, but for many people with arthritis those are painful daily tasks. Experts say this could be the result of a few things: one is that more baby boomers are coming to an age where arthritis becomes more common, and a high rate of baby boomers is overweight and obese. "The percentage of people who were hobbled was more than twice as high in obese people as those who were normal weight or were underweight, the CDC researchers found." Being overweight or obese puts extra pressure on joints and bones, so it’s not surprising that those with weight issues and arthritis experience more pain and problems than those of a normal weight.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a condition that occurs when the cartilage of a joint breaks down. Bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain and difficulty moving the joint. Exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness and increases flexibility, muscle strength, cardiac fitness, and endurance. It also helps with weight reduction and contributes to an improved sense of well-being. So maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can be key to reducing the daily effects of arthritis.

Are you someone who suffers from arthritis? SparkPeople’s Osteoarthritis Condition Center has information about how diet and exercise can improve your quality of life and limit the effects of the disease.

What do you think? If you have arthritis, what has helped you?