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Myths and Facts of Arthritis

  [ 25 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Carol Lewis • • April 5, 2000

MYTH: Arthritis affects only older people.

FACT: Arthritis affects any age, including children. There's no question that the incidence of arthritis increases with age, but nearly three of every five sufferers are under age 65.

MYTH: Arthritis is just minor aches and pains.

FACT: Arthritis can be permanently debilitating.

MYTH: Arthritis cannot be treated.

FACT: FDA recently approved several new treatments for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The fact is, these myths keep people from seeking a doctor's help against the number one cause of disability in the United States, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis disables more Americans than heart disease and stroke, and CDC says it's what Americans don't know about the disease that can hurt them.

"People ignore arthritis both as public and personal health problems because it doesn't kill you," says Chad Helmick, a medical epidemiologist at CDC. "But what they don't realize is that as Americans work and live longer, arthritis can affect their quality of life and eventually lead to disability." Current costs to the U.S. economy total nearly $65 billion annually--an impact equal to a moderate recession.

And the extent of the suffering is going to get worse. Arthritis already affects more than 42 million Americans in its chronic form, including 300,000 children. By 2020, CDC estimates that 60 million people will be affected, and that more than 11 million will be disabled.

The Arthritis Foundation and the American College of Rheumatology agree that awareness, early diagnosis, and an aggressive treatment plan developed by a doctor are key to stopping arthritis from taking over your life.

Source: Food and Drug Administration

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