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CDC Vital Signs:  Arthritis Limits Daily Activities of 24 million US Adults.




Everyone knows someone with arthritis. It is a leading cause of disability, and causes pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling of the joints, but is not a normal part of aging. In March 2017 CDC researchers analyzed data from the CDC’S National Health Interview Survey to update previous estimates of adults with arthritis and arthritis-related activity limitation.

Among the key findings:

  • About 54 million U.S. adults (23 percent) reported that their doctor had diagnosed them with arthritis.
  • About 24 million adults with arthritis had activity limitations because of their arthritis.
  • About half of all adults with heart disease or diabetes had arthritis.  Nearly one-third of adults who were obese  also had arthritis.  Arthritis makes it harder to manage these conditions.
  • Adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by about 40% by being physically active.

What can you do?

  • Learn proven actions to deal with pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
  • Be physically active (like walking, swimming, or biking) to help maintain and improve strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Adopt healthy eating habits
  • Attend educational programs to gain confidence and skills on managing arthritis. Learn more in our resource library.
  • Use medications correctly under a healthcare provider’s care.


The CDC has released a digital media kit on the  Vital Signs website (Spanish) with fact sheets, images, podcasts and more!  We have included some of the materials below:

Fact sheets from the CDC:  English| Spanish

Scientific Report: MMWR Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2013–2015

About Vital Signs

Vital Signs is a monthly report that appears as part of the CDC’s  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  Vital Signs provides the latest data and information on key health threats:  cancer, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health and others.

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