Self-Management, Research and More to help Improve Quality of Life with Arthritis

According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, the sixth most prevalent chronic condition in the United States 50+ population is arthritis. 17.4% of adults over age 50 have either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, meaning the prevalence could be even higher when taking into account the over 100 other types of arthritis. 

Having a chronic health condition, like arthritis, can make it especially important to be aware of external factors that can affect your ability to receive the best possible care for your health.  There has been much talk in the media in recent months surrounding the Affordable Care Act.  It is important for individuals, including those with disabilities – such as arthritis, to be aware of how the Affordable Care Act can work for them.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website that contains many valuable resources to help keep us all up-to-date on the Affordable Care Act, including an introductory brochure.

May is nationally known as Arthritis Action Month.  Organizations, like the Arthritis Foundation, work to create awareness of arthritis, to dispel myths surrounding arthritis, and to initiate advocacy and action to change the course of arthritis.  This past May, the Arthritis Foundation published a document which helps to quickly portray the prevalence of arthritis. 

With the prevalence of arthritis in the U.S. being high, research is continuously being done to help provide answers regarding arthritis.  Research also helps provide better treatment options which can lead to a better quality of life for individuals with arthritis.  Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a test to determine whether or not an individual is developing arthritis and which can potentially predict the severity of the disease.  You can read more about this specific research here.

Currently, one of the best treatments for improving your quality of life is to take control of your condition(s) through self-management and physical activity.  The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, from Stanford University, is a six-week program that helps individuals with one or more chronic health conditions independently manage their symptom(s) and condition(s).  This group-setting program can be very beneficial to participants as they realize they are not alone in managing their chronic condition(s). 

Programs like CDSMP are not only beneficial to participants, but they are beneficial to health care providers.  A patient’s health can be improved when health care providers and community health agencies make connections to partner together.  When a team of individuals, with you as the leader, is focused on improving your health, your quality of life can be dramatically improved.  The Wall Street Journal published an article recently that focused on this concept; you can read it here.  Information about self-management and physical activities offered in Missouri by the Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program and their partners can be found here.

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