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Survey Finds U.S. Arthritis Prevalence of 27 Percent

Annual cost and disabling impact on 43 million Americans expected to grow

MONDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Between 18 percent and 37 percent of adults in the United States have physician-diagnosed arthritis, according to a 2003 survey published online May 5 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. As Americans age, the $86 billion annual cost of arthritis and its disabling impact on 43 million U.S. adults are expected to keep growing.

Bruce Steiner, of the Illinois Department of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey on arthritis and its impact on adults' mobility in every U.S. state and territory.

The researchers report that depending on the state, 17.9 percent to 37.2 percent of adults reported arthritis diagnosed by a physician (state median: 27 percent), and 6.3 percent to 16.7 percent reported their activity limited by arthritis (state median: 9.9 percent).

"These high rates of arthritis prevalence and activity limitation are projected to increase with the aging of the population, requiring increased intervention to reduce this impact," the authors write.

Those coping with arthritis can alleviate its impact through exercise, staying trim and learning how to manage arthritis, the authors write. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helps support 36 state health department programs aimed at reaching the national goals sketched out in Healthy People 2010.

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