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Arthritis Turning America Into a Disabled Nation

  • Published: 2010-08-03 (Revised/Updated 2014-09-22) : Author: MOVEMENT IS LIFE
  • Synopsis: Inaugural MOVEMENT IS LIFE National Summit to Raise Awareness of Musculoskeletal Health Disparities among Women and Minorities.

Main Document

Is Arthritis Turning the United States Into a Sick and Disabled Nation

Arthritis is the single greatest cause of chronic pain and disability among Americans(i) and the treatment of arthritis costs the nation more than $128 billion(ii) a year in medical care and lost earnings. Persistent, chronic joint pain determines the choices people make and limits their ability to perform basic tasks for themselves and their family. Eighty percent of Americans either have, or know someone who has, arthritis(iii) and these numbers continue to escalate.(iv) Women, African-Americans and Latinos are more disabled and have a greater incidence of co-morbid diseases as a result of arthritis than the rest of the population.

The physical and economic burden of arthritic pain and disability is an important connecting thread in the dialog about health disparities among women and racial/ethnic minorities, yet it is not being widely discussed. On September 20-21, 2010 in Bethesda, MD, a first-of-its-kind National Summit, MOVEMENT IS LIFE: A National Dialog on Arthritis, Musculoskeletal Health Disparities and the Health Of The Nation, will shine the spotlight on this national public health issue.

More than 27 million Americans suffer from the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA),(v) and almost 40 percent report activity and work limitations.(vi) In April 2010, the CDC reported that severe joint pain, activity limitation and work limitation due to arthritis were significantly higher among African-Americans and Latinos, even though they were less likely to report their medical condition.(vii) Various national health surveys demonstrate that women are also disproportionately affected by arthritis and related disability.(viii)

"The compound effect of arthritis and chronic medical conditions among women and racial/ethnic minorities is a costly national health crisis," said Mary O'Connor, MD, Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics at Mayo Clinic Florida and Co-Chair of MOVEMENT IS LIFE. "Understanding the effect of arthritis on disability and physical inactivity is critical to effective chronic disease management in the United States."

Led by Summit Co-Chairs Dr. O'Connor and Dr. Said Ibrahim, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Philadelphia VA Medical Center, MOVEMENT IS LIFE will feature discussion topics including the role of culture, social/psychological factors and the economic impact of musculoskeletal health disparities. Drs. Ibrahim and O'Connor will be joined by a consortium of stakeholders representing primary care physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, health advocacy organizations, community organizations, academia, faith-based leaders, community advocacy organizations, nurse associations and industry. Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, MD a nationally-recognized industry expert on health disparities and founding President of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA will deliver the keynote address.

(i) A National Public Health Agenda For Osteoarthritis 2010 - Centers For Disease Control and The Arthritis Foundation

(ii) Arthritis Prevalence: A Nation in Pain - Arthritis Foundation 2008

(iii) Arthritis Prevalence and Impact - The Arthritis Foundation 2010 -

(iv) Osteoarthritis Fact Sheet - The Arthritis Foundation

(v) Arthritis Prevalence in Women and Men - Arthritis Attributable Limitations - NHIS Arthritis Surveillance - Centers For Disease Control

(vi) Differences in the Prevalence and Impact of Arthritis Among Racial/Ethnic Groups in the United States, 2002, 2003, 2006

(vii) Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy, Volume 7, #3, May 2010

(viii) Arthritis Greater Burden For Women - Arthritis Foundation

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4 : Obesity and Knee Arthritis : American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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