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Arthritis Awareness Initiative

HandsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis is a general term used to identify over a hundred various conditions of the joint and surrounding tissues. Though each person’s symptomology is unique, stiffness and pain are often characteristic features which may occur suddenly or through gradual onset.

The Chronic Disease Prevention and Screening Section recognizes that arthritis is a chronic health condition that affects many New Hampshire residents, causing significant pain and disability, and has partnered with the University of New Hampshire’s Nursing Program to provide New Hampshire-specific data and a summary of resources available to individuals with arthritis via this web page.

The CDC's National Arthritis Program has been put into place to increase awareness, create assistive services, and determine the impact of arthritis on American’s lives. In cooperation with other organizations, the CDC has provided a National Arthritis Action Plan. Within the national program, recommendations are outlined to meet the CDC goals.

National Goals:

  • Provide prevention strategies for the general public
  • Increase early diagnosis
  • Improve availability and management of self-care services
  • Develop better pain management
  • Decrease pain and disability
  • Improve individuals’ quality of life and health behaviors

Possible Factors Relating to Cause:

Who is at Risk in New Hampshire?

Burden of Arthritis in New Hampshire, 2013 Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol

  • More than 289,000 adults in New Hampshire (about 29% of the population) have diagnosed arthritis
  • Nearly 46% of physically inactive adults in New Hampshire have arthritis
  • 56% of the adult population in New Hampshire over the age of 65 has arthritis
  • 38% of adults in New Hampshire with arthritis have marked activity limitation due to their symptoms
  • 33% of adults in New Hampshire with diagnosed arthritis are also obese
  • An additional 38% of adults in New Hampshire with diagnosed arthritis are overweight
  • 47% of the adults in New Hampshire with high blood pressure also have arthritis according to the CDC
  • 58% of adults in New Hampshire with heart disease also have arthritis

Arthritis Implications

  • Pain, disability, financial burden, and social isolation

How to be Proactive:

  • Be physically active and protect joints
    • Incorporate at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate activity and some muscle building into your daily routine:
      • Moderate examples include swimming, biking, brisk walking, or yoga
      • Strength-building examples: weight lifting, resistance bands, bodyweight exercises (pushups), shoveling, or gardening
    • Consider balance exercises such as backward walking or standing on one foot in a safe environment
    • Tips! Start low and go slow. Change activity as needed.
  • Maintain healthy weight, discuss this goal with your primary care provider

Remember: you can perform these activities at home or with a group!

Resources Available

  • CDC - Provides education and links about arthritis types, management techniques, state programs, and possible resources | 1-800-CDC-INFO
  • New Hampshire Arthritis Foundation - Provides links to arthritis programs (i.e. low impact classes), education, research opportunities, and community events to help you get involved | 1-800-283-7800
  • YMCA - Offers low impact classes if working out in a group and with an instructor is beneficial | 1-800-872-9622
  • Stanford Self-Management Program - A program that creates small group meetings for those affected by chronic disease (i.e. heart disease, diabetes, COPD, or arthritis) to discuss coping mechanisms. | 1-650-723-4000
  • American Chronic Pain Association - An organization that provides peer support groups and education on pain management skills | 1-800-533-3231
  • Primary Care Practices Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol - Provides professional evaluation and treatmentfor those with arthritis.

This web page was brought to you as a Public Health Nursing Project by students from the University of New Hampshire. Please take a moment to fill out the following survey to help us better suit your needs.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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