Overall arthritis rates rose as expected in the United States between 2010 and 2012, but the incidence of arthritis-attributable activity limitation (AAAL) exceeded projections, with an estimated 22.7 million Americans—nearly half of the estimated 52.5 million with arthritis—suffering with symptoms that limited normal physical activity. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the numbers this week and called for "greater use of evidence-based interventions" to battle the effects of AAAL.
The CDC report on arthritis and AAAL summarizes the results of the National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS) conducted in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and compares these to its predictions for the disease. In its projections CDC estimated that arthritis would affect 55.7 million Americans by 2015—an estimate that it says is still on target given the new numbers. What surprised the CDC was the rate of increase of AAAL, which has passed the 22 million mark predicted for 2020, and "might exceed the 25 million projection for 2030."
Editorial notes accompanying the report point to the incidence of comorbidities such as heart disease and diabetes as contributing to the higher-than-expected rise in AAAL and recommend greater attention to education and exercise. "An opportunity for collaboration is the dissemination of information regarding evidence-based self-management education and physical activity interventions that have been proven to reduce pain and improve function, mood, confidence to manage health, and quality of life," the report states. "The physical activity interventions recommended are appropriate exercise regimens intended to reduce activity limitations and … assuage concerns over aggravating the condition." The APTA website offers multiple resources on exercise and arthritis, including an online course focused on exercise prescription for older adults with osteoarthritis.
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