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David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Getting the Better of Arthritis

Imagine if it hurt just to hold the very newspaper you’re reading right now. Truth is many of you don’t have to imagine because you’re experiencing it right now.

One in five American adults reports having doctor-diagnosed arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Arthritis includes more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions, the most common being osteoarthritis, the joint pain that comes from wear and tear. In New Mexico, about 383,000 adults suffer from arthritis.   

Arthritis is very much a public health problem. It’s more common among adults aged 65 years or older, but people of all ages (including children) can be affected.

By 2030, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates one-in-four New Mexicans will be 65 years and older. We are one of just six states expected to have that large percentage of a senior population. As New Mexico’s population ages, we can expect an increase in arthritis here. Meanwhile, the CDC. says 52 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis today and expect that number to rise to 67 million by 2030.

Arthritis is also considered a public health problem because of its high lifetime risk.  About 45 percent of us may develop osteoarthritis in our knees by age 85, according to the CDC.  And that chance rises to over 66 percent if we’re obese.

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in adults, limiting our ability to walk, climb stairs or exercise. According to the CDC, for 1 of 3 adults of working age (18–64 years) with arthritis, it limits the type or amount of work they do or whether they can work at all. Arguably the largest problem of all with arthritis is it discourages people to be physically active. In fact, in New Mexico, 55% of adults with arthritis have activity limitations.  Not being physically active is a risk factor for other chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  The joint pain and stiffness of arthritis can also make it harder to manage these conditions.

But the Department of Health and its partners are working to change that with the Manage Your Chronic Disease (My CD) Program. It’s a six week small group class offered to adults with chronic conditions. The class meets for 2-1/2 hours once a week, and is led by certified leaders from the community.  Participants learn how to take a more active role managing their health. The class will be offered in Las Cruces at the Southern Area Health Education Center beginning April 29th. To sign up, you can contact Alma Gross at 575-646-3061.

If you can’t attend the class, the Department of Health and the CDC  recommend you:

  • Talk to your doctor. Although there is no cure for most types of arthritis, early diagnosis and appropriate management is important.  Work with your doctor to learn how to better manage your condition, lessen its effects and improve your quality of life.
  • Be active. Many people living with arthritis know physical activities such as walking, bicycling, and swimming have many benefits, including less pain and better physical function, mental health, and quality of life.
  • Watch your weight and protect your joints. You can reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis by controlling your weight and avoiding injuries. If you’re already overweight, weight loss can also go a long way toward reducing symptoms, especially for your knees.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

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Obteniendo lo Mejor de la Artritis