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Increase Funding of Arthritis Prevention at the CDC

Research Is Critical to Find a Cure

Arthritis affects 1 in 5 Americans and is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., according to CDC. It limits the daily activities of nearly 23 million Americans and causes work limitations for 40% of the people with the disease. This translates to $156 billion a year in direct and indirect costs from two forms of arthritis alone – osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

There is no cure for arthritis, and for some forms of arthritis like OA, there is no effective pharmaceutical treatment. Research is critical to build towards a cure, to develop better treatments with fewer severe side effects, and to identify biomarkers and therapies for types of arthritis for which none exist. A strong investment in public health research and programs is essential to making breakthroughs in treatments finding a cure for arthritis, and for delivering those breakthroughs to the people who suffer from this debilitating disease.

Increase Support for the CDC Arthritis Program

The goal of the Center of Disease Control (CDC) Arthritis Program is to improve the quality of life for people affected by arthritis and other rheumatic conditions by working with states and other partners to:

  • Increase awareness about appropriate arthritis self-management activities
  • Extend the reach of programs proven to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis
  • Decrease the overall burden of arthritis as well as its associated disability, work and activity limitations

Unfortunately, funding for the CDC Arthritis Program does not fully address the needs of population.

What is the Impact of this Issue?

Given the high prevalence and severity of this disease, the Arthritis Program is woefully under-funded compared to the investment in other chronic diseases. Despite the low funding level of $13 million in FY14, the program was slated for elimination in FY15. While the program was preserved, the funding was cut by 25%, bringing the FY15 total to $9.5 million. The Arthritis Program staff must now determine how to support the same level of programs in 12 states with 25% fewer resources.

Not only does the Arthritis Program provide resources to people with arthritis, it also supports data collection on the prevalence and severity of arthritis. Because of this support, we know that 1 in 5 Americans has doctor-diagnosed arthritis, including 27% of people in Oklahoma and 24% of people in Connecticut, and 415,000 of those people in Oklahoma and 267,000 of those people in Connecticut are limited by their arthritis.

Without the Arthritis Program, the robust level of data collection we have now would not exist. As you know, this data is critical for determining where to direct public health programs and how to set research priorities. For example, because of the data on the high number of people with arthritis who also have at least one other chronic disease like heart disease (24%) or diabetes (16%), we know that research on co-morbidities and coordinated chronic disease programs are important to reducing the overall impact of chronic disease on people with arthritis.

How You and Members of Congress Can Help

How You Can Make an Impact

The goal of the CDC Arthritis Program is to improve the quality of life for people affected by arthritis, but the current funding for this program does not meet the needs of the population. Become an Advocate and help the Arthritis Foundation make an impact on this issue! Read More >>