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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

CDC Urges Seniors, Others with Arthritis to Take Action in May to Relieve Symptoms

Arthritis Awareness Month sees 50 million in U.S. living with the pain; walking offers relief; ten ways to get started

May 15, 2013 – About 12.4 million senior citizens - 33.6 percent of those age 65 and older -  in the U.S. suffer with osteoarthritis,  the most common form of arthritis among older people. And, 50 million Americans live with some form of arthritis. In recognition of Arthritis Awareness Month (May) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging patients to take actions to reduce the symptoms and live well.

(Read about osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis below story)

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.


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Try Walking to Ease Joint Pain

May is Arthritis Awareness Month and is the perfect time to pump up your physical activity.

Walking is the best medicine.

Despite the known benefits of physical activity to help manage arthritis, adults with arthritis are less active than adults without arthritis.1

  • Walking has been shown to improve arthritis pain, fatigue, function, and quality of life.2

  • Walking is low impact on your joints, can be done almost anywhere and doesn't require special equipment or a gym membership. Celebrate Arthritis Awareness Month by starting a walking program today.

Getting started.

Federal guidelines recommend all adults, including adults with arthritis, get at least 150 minutes per week of at least moderate intensity aerobic activity and that they do muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 days per week.3 Walking is a moderate intensity activity that people with arthritis can do to meet physical activity recommendations. If you walk for 30 minutes a day on 5 days a week you will meet these recommendations.

Don't think you can walk for 30 minutes at one time? You can break it up into 10 minute sessions and spread it out during the day—walk the dog 10 minutes in the morning, take a 10 minute walk to discuss a project with a co-worker, and walk 10 minutes around a sports facility or parking lot while waiting to pick up your kids from after school activities.

Fun ways you can fit walking into your life

  • Enroll in the Walk With Ease program. This program has been shown to improve arthritis pain, fatigue, function and quality-of-life. It can be done in a group setting or by yourself at your own pace.
  • Sign up to participate in an Arthritis Walk near you.
  • Walk your dog or volunteer to walk dogs at an animal shelter.
  • Suggest to co-workers to have "walking meetings."
  • Park 10 minutes away from your office and walk the rest of the way.
  • Start a Walking School Busin your neighborhood.
  • Walk around the soccer field, basketball court, or softball field when your kids are at sports practice.
  • Buy an inexpensive pedometer and work to increase your steps a little each day.
  • Have a friendly competition with a spouse, friend, or co-worker.
  • When the weather is bad, stop by your local mall and walk a few laps.

More Information



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State-specific prevalence of no leisure-time physical activity among adults with and without doctor-diagnosed arthritis— United States 2009. MMWR. 2011;60(48):1641-1645.

  2. Callahan LF, Shreffler JH, Altpeter M, Schoster B, Hootman J, Houenou LO, Martin KR, Schwartz TA. Evaluation of group and self-directed formats of the Arthritis Foundation's Walk With Ease Program. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011;63(8):1098-107.

  3. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for AmericansWeb site. Accessed April 12, 2013.

What Is Osteoarthritis?


Affects Many Older People

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among older people.

The disease affects both men and women. Before age 45, osteoarthritis is more common in men than in women. After age 45, osteoarthritis is more common in women. It is estimated that 33.6% (12.4 million) of individuals age 65 and older are affected by the disease.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most frequent causes of physical disability among older adults.

Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage, the tissue that cushions the ends of the bones within the joints, breaks down and wears away. In some cases, all of the cartilage may wear away, leaving bones that rub up against each other.

Joint Stiffness and Pain

Symptoms range from stiffness and mild pain that comes and goes to severe joint pain. Osteoarthritis affects hands, low back, neck, and weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, and feet. osteoarthritis affects just joints, not internal organs.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

An Inflammatory, Autoimmune Disease

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It can cause mild to severe symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis not only affects the joints, but may also attack tissue in the skin, lungs, eyes, and blood vessels. People with rheumatoid arthritis may feel sick, tired, and sometimes feverish.

Rheumatoid arthritis is classified as an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect.


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