May is Arthritis Awareness Month, an observance intended to focus on the large and growing problem of arthritis in the United States. Arthritis affected 46 million (one in five) U.S. adults including 1.4 million Missourians in 2005 and is projected to affect 67 million U.S. adults and 1.72 million Missourians by 2030. Arthritis remains the most common cause of disability in the United States.
The emphasis of this year's observance is on the benefits of physical activity for persons with arthritis. For adults with arthritis, physical activity can reduce pain, improve function, reduce the risk for disability, and lower the risk for heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Any physical activity is better than none, but the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest that low impact, moderate-intensity aerobic activity totaling 150 minutes a week and muscle strengthening exercise at least 2 days a week generally are safe, beneficial, and achievable for persons with chronic conditions such as arthritis.
The Regional Arthritis Centers are here to help you learn how to manage arthritis so it doesn't manage you. Click here to learn more about physical activity and self-management programs and locate a class near you. You can also sign up to receive arthritis updates delivered to your email in-box.