Let’s Raise Awareness About Arthritis

Every May is Arthritis Awareness Month, an opportunity to inform even more people about this complex family of debilitating diseases.

By Anthony Williams | May 1, 2024

Annual ReportWhile most people have probably heard of arthritis, it’s likely that many of them don’t know much about the impact of arthritis, the #1 cause of disability in the United States. That’s why, during Arthritis Awareness Month every May, the Arthritis Foundation calls extra attention to this painful and debilitating condition that affects nearly 60 million men, women and children in the U.S.

In 1972, at the urging of the Arthritis Foundation, Congress and President Richard M. Nixon designated May as National Arthritis Month — a special time to emphasize research, service and education around arthritis, and to raise funds to support the cause. Every May since then, National Arthritis Month has been marked by efforts to elevate the public’s awareness of arthritis.

The Arthritis Foundation works to share little known facts so that more people realize the serious impacts arthritis has, like the real-life statistics below.
Basic Facts About Arthritis
  • About 1 in 4 adults and hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. have been diagnosed by a doctor with a form of arthritis or related illness.
  • Contrary to the common misconception, it’s not just an “old person’s” disease. About two-thirds of those living with arthritis are aged 65 and under.
  • There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related rheumatic diseases.
  • As our nation’s top cause of disability, arthritis costs the U.S. economy over $300 billion annually in medical bills, lost wages and associated expenses.
  • Most people with arthritis also have comorbidities — accompanying conditions, like heart disease, diabetes and obesity — that further jeopardizes their health.
More Interesting Tidbits
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers more eye-opening facts:
  • Nearly 26 million of those with arthritis in the U.S. are unable to do everyday activities. That includes everything from walking to doing household chores to engaging in work or social situations.
  • More adults in rural areas of the U.S. are affected by arthritis — 1 in 3 — than in urban areas. Over half reported being limited by arthritis.
  • 1 in 3 adults with arthritis are not physically active (30%), have fair to poor health (33%) and have severe joint pain (33%).   
Solutions to Help Conquer Arthritis
Since the Arthritis Foundation began in 1948, we’ve been the leading, most trusted nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the arthritis community and ultimately finding a cure— through research, advocacy, educational resources and community connections.
Resources to Check Out
  • Start by learning as much as you can about arthritis.
  • Listen to our Live Yes! With Arthritis podcasts, covering all kinds of topics.
  • Our webinars can also help you take control of your arthritis.
  • Our e-books dig in to ways you can live better with arthritis in all sorts of ways.
  • We’re just a phone call away from whatever assistance you need through our Helpline.
Big Ideas We’re Working On  
What You Can Do
  • Together, we’re making remarkable progress in the journey to conquer arthritis. Make a gift today so we can get closer to a cure.
  • People with arthritis face unique barriers to care. Take action with us to improve access to care, learn more about advocating for yourself and get involved locally.
During Arthritis Awareness Month, and all year long, we encourage all of our partners, supporters, and anyone and everyone who believes in our mission to help spread the word — and call greater attention to this public health priority called arthritis. Help raise awareness that arthritis is serious, but also that much is being done to address challenges of arthritis. Together, we can continue making even more progress.

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