While doing my research for a host of issues related to bones and joints, it occurred to me a lot of information exists about arthritis, perhaps more than I am usually accustomed to reading. Is it because we are subject to more forms of media presentations these days, or are arthritis rates steadily climbing? Perhaps it is a bit of both, but further investigation revealed that, yes, arthritis rates are on the rise. In fact, I have noticed that many people in my age category (40s) are presenting more cases of the disease than I realized. I have several friends who struggle with this condition, and it is alarming to me that they must deal with arthritis at what I presume to be such a young age.
Epidemics come in many forms—the flu, HIV, etc—but recent information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that arthritis has the potential to turn into an epidemic that will not only weaken the quality of life for many individuals, but perhaps can even become a life-threatening one.
Currently, nearly 50 million adults suffer from arthritis in the US, which represents an increase of four million people in the past four years. Within the next 19 years, that number is expected to reach 67 million adults who will be living with arthritis.
Those who suffer from this disease are all too familiar with the associated pain and discomfort, and many have trouble simply maintaining a normal daily routine. According to the CDC, about 42 percent of adults living with arthritis indicated they have to limit their daily activities because of joint pain.(1)
Many people who are struggling with the debilitating effects of arthritis are also carrying the burden of other conditions, such as obesity, osteoarthritis, and the need for invasive procedures, such as joint replacements. This has caused great concern among doctors and patients.
The factors that contribute to these frightening statistics include age, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and vitamin D deficiency. Advancing age is a strong risk factor. Being female and over the age of 75 further increases one’s risk of developing the disease.