Arthritis and Osteoporosis Fact Sheet

Dr. Norman B. Gaylis

What is the impact of arthritis?

  • The economic impact of arthritis, rheumatic and muscloskeletal illness is close to 17% of the Gross National Product each year.
  • Arthritis afflicts nearly 40 million Americans, resulting in 427 million days of restricted activity; 156 million days in bed; 45 million days lost from work.
  • By the year 2020 the number of Americans with arthritis will increase by more than 57% from the 1990 estimate of nearly 40 million. This dramatic increase is due to the aging population, particularly the baby boomer generation, which is entering the prime years of arthritis onset.
  • The word “arthritis” means joint inflammation. Symptoms may range in severity from occasional discomfort and minor loss of movement in a single localized area to crippling pain, deformity and almost total loss of mobility.
  • Arthritis is more prevalent and a more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes mellitus.
  • Arthritis-related illness evaluated in ambulatory care settings, accounts for an estimated 1.2 million annual physician visits.
  • Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms of arthritis.
  • Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which leads to the thinning or destruction of the cartilage, causing painful irritation of the involved joints and the adjacent bone tissue.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the lining of the joints and is of unknown cause.

What is the impact of Osteoporosis?

  • Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease, which if not prevented or left untreated, can progress painlessly until a bone breaks.
  • One out of every two women and one out of five men suffers an osteoporosis-related fracture Osteoporosis leads to 1.5 million fractures a year.
  • One in three women older that 50 years of age will suffer a vertebral fracture. Vertebral fractures can cause the spine to collapse and lead to loss of height and stooped posture.
  • A woman’s risk of developing a hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
  • More than 300,000 hip fractures occur every year because of osteoporosis.
  • Medical, nursing home and social costs of hip fractures resulting from osteoporosis and its consequences exceeded $7 billion a year in 1990. These costs are expected to increase to more than $30 billion by 2020 unless more aggressive steps are taken to prevent and treat the disease.
  • Women can loose up to 20% of their total bone mass in the first 5-7 years following menopause and once lost, bone cannot be replaced.
  • Osteoporosis can cause crippling pain, lasting disability, forced retirement and permanent disfigurement.
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