Arthritis refers to more than 100 inflammatory rheumatic diseases that affect the joints and surrounding connective tissue. Common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and gout. Symptoms include pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in or around the joints.
Why It’s Important
Arthritis affects 58.5 million adults in the United States (US) and is a leading cause of work disability.1 The annual direct medical costs of arthritis were at least $140 billion in 2013.2 Arthritis is also associated with substantial activity limitation, work disability, and reduced quality of life. Findings from the National Health Interview Survey (2013-2015) indicated that 43.5% (23.7 million) of adults 18 and older with arthritis have limitations in their usual activities due to their arthritis.3
What Is Known
In 2020, 17.6% of Hawai’i adults reported having arthritis. Arthritis prevalence ranged from 6.9% among persons ages 25-34 to 48.9% among persons ages 75 and older (BRFSS). The prevalence of arthritis was higher in women than in men (23.3% and 18.8%, respectively).
Who Is at Risk
The prevalence of arthritis increases with age. Females are more likely to report arthritis than males. Native Hawaiians are more likely to report arthritis than Caucasian persons. Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Specific genes associated with a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis
- Chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes mellitus
- Joint injuries, infection, and occupations that involve repetitive knee bending and squatting
How To Reduce Risk
Learning techniques to reduce pain and limitations can increase quality of life for those with arthritis. Self-management education workshops can teach individuals ways to reduce pain and limitations. Topics include pain reduction techniques, benefits of safe exercise, how to move more easily, and how to gain control over arthritis. To learn about managing arthritis pain, talk to your doctor about medication management and weight control to improve arthritis symptoms. Regular, appropriate physical activity can reduce arthritis pain and improve function by about 40%. Just 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week can help reduce joint pain and improve mobility.4
Page last updated July 29, 2022.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fast Facts About Arthritis. Arthritis. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/arthritis-fast-facts.html Accessed on July 22, 2022.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cost Statistics. Arthritis. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/cost.htm. Accessed on July 22, 2022.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Statistics. Arthritis. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/national-statistics.html. Accessed on July 22, 2022.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 5 Ways to Manage Arthritis. Arthritis. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/management.htm. Accessed on July 22, 2022.