For Immediate Release
October 12, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

October 12 is World Arthritis Day

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recognizing October 12 as World Arthritis Day. World Arthritis Day was created in 1996 to raise public awareness of arthritis in all its forms, highlight public policy options for addressing arthritis and describe the burden of arthritis, a public health problem that costs $128 billion annually in the United States.

The number of adults in the United States with doctor-diagnosed arthritis has risen steadily, now affecting an estimated 50 million people and remaining the most common cause of disability.

“About 545,600 Kansas adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis,” said Roderick Bremby, KDHE Secretary. “And about 45 percent of those have indicated they are limited in their daily activities due to arthritis or joint symptoms.”

A contributing factor to arthritis is obesity, with one in three obese Kansas adults having arthritis. 

“Arthritis makes it difficult for people to be active and not being active puts people at risk for many other chronic diseases,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of KDHE’s Division of Health. “It’s important for people diagnosed with arthritis to work with their health care providers to find a range of physical activities that are right for them.”

Types of physical activity most appropriate for people with arthritis include low-impact aerobic activities such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, gardening and dancing. Muscle-strengthening exercises and balance exercises are also helpful. Such activities can be broken up into small amounts lasting just 10 minutes at a time throughout the day.

“For many millions of people who suffer from arthritis, daily physical activity may be the best medicine,” said Dr. Eberhart-Phillips. “It’s a natural pain reliever and the benefits far outweigh the risks.”

Self-management strategies such as weight loss and increasing physical activity can improve pain and function and may prevent or reverse arthritis-attributable activity limitation.

Visit www.kdheks.gov/arthritis/index.html for additional information about the Kansas Arthritis Program.