CDC Report: Arthritis Limits Daily Activities of 24 Million U.S. Adults

Approximately half of all adults with heart disease or diabetes have arthritis

More than 24 million adults in the United States with arthritis have activity limitations from their disease, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The percentage of adults with arthritis who have activity limitations increased from 35.9% in 2002 to 42.8% in 2014––a 20% rise that was independent of the aging of the population. The everyday activities of these adults––such as holding a cup, lifting a grocery bag, or walking to their car––are limited by their disease.

More than 54 million adults in the U.S, or about one in four, have arthritis. Almost 60%, or approximately 32 million, of those with arthritis are of working age (18 to 64 years of age).

When people with arthritis engage in physical activity, they can reduce their arthritis symptoms by up to 40%, according to the CDC, and yet many adults with arthritis are not physically active. Approximately one-third of adults with arthritis report that they do not engage in physical activity during leisure time.

Adults with arthritis can also reduce their symptoms by participating in disease-management education programs. However, only one in 10 has taken part in these programs. Adults with arthritis are significantly more likely to attend an education program when encouraged to do so by a health care provider.

CDC researchers analyzed data from the agency’s National Health Interview Survey to update previous estimates of adults with arthritis and arthritis-related activity limitation.

Among the key findings:

  • Approximately 54 million U.S. adults (23%) reported that their doctors had diagnosed them with arthritis.
  • Approximately 24 million adults with arthritis had activity limitations because of their disease.
  • Approximately half of all adults with heart disease or diabetes had arthritis, and nearly one-third of obese adults had the disease.

Sources: CDC; March 7, 2017; and Vital Signs; March 7, 2017.