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Arthritis and Minorities

By HERWriter
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minorities are afflicted with arthritis Eyecandy Images/Thinkstock

According to the Arthritis Foundation’s Working with Diverse Populations Handbook, “An estimated 50 million adults (one in five or 22 percent) in the United States have reported that they were told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis. Of these, 21 million have arthritis-attributable activity limitations. Of adults 65 years or older, 50 percent reported an arthritis diagnosis.”

Arthritis is expensive. For example, the Foundation stated in the United States in 2003, arthritis and other rheumatic conditions accounted for the following costs:

• Total cost: $128 billion
• Direct costs (medical expenses): $80.8 billion dollars
• Indirect costs: $47 billion (lost earnings)

Arthritis pain cuts across all culture lines. Here is a breakdown of how arthritis affects minorities:

• 2.9 million Hispanic adults
• 4.6 million Non-Hispanic Blacks
• 667,000 Asian/Pacific Islanders
• 280,000 American Indians/Alaska Natives report doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Additional research verified that minorities more frequently suffer from the disabling effects of arthritis. The handbook stated, “even though they have the same or lower prevalence of arthritis, compared to non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics had worse arthritis impact,” which included:

• Activity limitation (Hispanic 43.2 percent, Blacks 44.6 percent)
• Work limitation (Hispanic 39.7 percent, Blacks 41.6 percent)
• Severe Pain (Hispanic 36.4 percent, Blacks 38.3 percent)

What is terribly heartbreaking is the handbook also stated “more than one third of the Hispanic/Latino population does not have health insurance, and the Hispanic/Latino group is the largest segment of the approximately 43 million people in the United States who do not have insurance.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NAHH and the Arthritis Foundation recommend the following to manage your arthritis if you are a minority:

• Learn more. Find out about programs offered in your area and order free educational materials by visiting www.arthritis.org, www.arthritis.org/espanol/, www.hispanichealth.org/ and www.cdc.gov/arthritis/interventions.htm/

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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