Early diagnosis and proper management of arthritis can help
people with arthritis decrease pain, improve function, decrease and
delay disability and stay productive and active. Whether or not you
have arthritis, you should strive for five. Strive
to incorporate five arthritis solutions into your lifestyle 1)
learn self-management strategies, 2) be active, 3) watch your
weight, 4) protect your joints, and 5) see your doctor. These
solutions can help you better manage arthritis if you already have
it or help protect you against it if you don’t. Additionally most
of them can help you manage other chronic diseases you may face in
addition to arthritis, such as heart disease, obesity, high blood
pressure or diabetes:
Learn Arthritis-Management Strategies—Learning
techniques to reduce pain and limitations can be beneficial to
people with arthritis and other chronic diseases. Self-management
education programs, such as the Chronic Disease
Self Management Program (CDSMP), can help you develop the
skills and confidence to manage multiple chronic conditions and
live well each day in spite of the limitations they cause.
Participants in these programs have learned to manage pain and
fatigue, and also reduce frustration or worry about their health.
Effective, arthritis-focused options such as the Arthritis Self
Management Program (ASMP) also are available. Interactive
workshops are low-cost (about $25 – $35) and available in
communities across the country.
Be Active—You may not think so, but physical
activity is highly recommended for people with arthritis. Research
has shown that physical activity decreases arthritis pain, improves
function and mood, and delays disability. Make sure you get at
least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on at least 5 days
each week to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate
exercise a week. Exercising in intervals as short as 10-minutes can
provide health benefits. If you are unsure of how or where to
start, consider enrolling in one of the physical
activity programs that CDC recommends for people with
arthritis, such as the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program or
Watch Your Weight— Maintaining a healthy weight is
an important strategy for staying healthy and managing a variety of
chronic illnesses. About 66% of adults with doctor-diagnosed
arthritis are overweight or obese. Research suggests that
maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing
arthritis and may decrease disease progression. A loss of just 11
pounds, for people who are overweight, can decrease the occurrence
of new knee osteoarthritis and a modest weight loss (5%) can help
reduce pain and disability.
- – Protect Your Joints—Joint injury can lead to
osteoarthritis. People who experience sports or occupational
injuries or have jobs with repetitive motions like repeated knee
bending have more osteoarthritis. Avoid joint injury to reduce your
risk of developing osteoarthritis.
- – See Your Doctor—Although there is no cure
for most types of arthritis, early diagnosis and proper management
are important, particularly for inflammatory types of arthritis.
Early use of disease-modifying drugs can change the course of
rheumatoid arthritis. If you have symptoms of arthritis, which may
include pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in or around the
joints, see your doctor and begin appropriate management of your
Remember, to always strive for five!
Strategies to Address Arthritis—What Can Organizations and
The Arthritis Foundation and the Institute of Medicine (IOM)
have each released reports that call for partnership and action to
support a variety of efforts that will make physical activity more
convenient, safe and accessible for people with arthritis and help
people with arthritis and other leading chronic conditions live
Arthritis Foundation Report – Environmental and Policy
Strategies to Increase Physical Activity among Adults with
Few strategies exist that address the unique, arthritis-specific
barriers to physical activity and promote physical activity in a
way that is safe, accessible, effective for, and inclusive of,
adults with arthritis. The new Arthritis Foundation report outlines
specific environmental and policy strategies for organizations and
individuals who work in sectors uniquely positioned to influence
physical activity among adults with arthritis. The sectors and
priority strategies are:
- Community and Public Health
- Health Care
- Transportation, Land Use, and Community Design
- Business and Industry
- Park, Recreation, Fitness and Sport
- Mass Media and Communication
Priority Environmental and Policy Strategies for
Improving Physical Activity Among Adults with
Community and Public Health
Public health, aging services networks, faith-based
organizations, and other community agencies should invest resources
in the dissemination and delivery of evidence-based physical
activity programs for adults with arthritis in convenient
Health care systems should require licensed health care
professionals to ask arthritis patients about physical activity
levels at every visit, screen for arthritis-specific barriers to
physical activity, encourage physical activity, and recommend
evidence-based community interventions or rehabilitation therapies
Transportation, Land Use, and Community
Policies should be put in place and reinforced to create or
expand efforts to promote active living environments that can
support adults with arthritis being physically active.
Business and Industry
Comprehensive worksite wellness programs should be inclusive and
explicitly incorporate the needs of adults with arthritis in their
programs without requiring disclosure of arthritis diagnosis.
Park, Recreation, Fitness, and
Park, recreation, fitness, and sport professionals should
receive training on how to adapt and modify physical activity
programs and exercises for adults with arthritis and assist them in
initiating and sustaining appropriate physical activity.
Mass Media and Communication
Available evidence-based physical activity interventions for
adults with arthritis should be promoted through information,
guidelines, signage, media promotion, and public outreach.
Learn more about what organizations and individuals in each
sector can do to help adults with arthritis become more
physically active, and about other arthritis policy resources.
Obtain a copy of the complete Arthritis Foundation report.
IOM – Living Well with Chronic Illness: A Call for Public
As rates of chronic disease such as arthritis continue to
increase, Americans are becoming more focused on living well in
addition to living longer. Learn more about IOM report.
- All chronic illnesses hold the potential to worsen the overall
health of our nation by limiting an individual’s capacity to live
- Looking at a variety of diseases, health conditions, and
physical impairments that significantly affect a person’s health
and quality of life, as well as the nation’s economy, would
strengthen public health actions to manage chronic disease.
- Evidence-based interventions aimed at preventing chronic
disease (such as ending smoking, eating nutritious food, and
limiting weight gain) need to be studied in people with one or more
chronic illnesses to assess their effectiveness.
- While a range of public policies have helped individuals with
chronic illness, it is important to design and implement new public
policies or explore promising approaches to further promote living
well with chronic illnesses.
- A comprehensive surveillance system to enhance living well with
chronic illness is complex and integrates a number of health and
quality of life measures.
- Enhanced collaboration among the public health, health care,
and community non healthcare sectors could produce better
prevention and treatment outcomes for people living with chronic
Learn more about IOM report.
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federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice
by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help
people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.