Arthritis Foundation Releases Findings From One of the Nation’s Largest Assessments of People With Arthritis 

Results captured in A Mandate for Action, a report revealing a major health crisis and the astronomical effects of arthritis in the areas of pain, overall health and wellness and quality of care. 

ATLANTA, February 18, 2020 – As the leading organization dedicated to changing the lives of the more than 54 million people living with arthritis in the U.S., the Arthritis Foundation has just released key findings from one of the largest, most comprehensive collections of data from people with arthritis ever conducted. The A Mandate for Action report reflects real-time patient insights from 18,000 online assessments taken from August 2018 to October 2019 and is an inaugural baseline of patient-reported outcomes from those with arthritis from all 50 states. Major findings reveal that the extent of the disease is much more significant than experts initially thought. The pain associated with arthritis can no longer be ignored — and leads to devastating physical and emotional realities, underscoring why the disease is considered the nation’s number one cause of disability.

“For years we’ve known the staggering statistics of arthritis, but it hasn’t been until our first-of-its-kind report that we now know the true impact of living with this chronic disease, and the results are stunning,” said Ann M. Palmer, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. “The effects of pain are undeniable. It impairs sleep, isolates people from their families, leads to anxiety and depression.”

The report uncovered that limitations in our health care system and lack of scientific breakthroughs are causing patients to have to “settle” for a life filled with pain and unmet needs. In fact, 93% of patients reported it’s extremely important to get the help they need at their doctor’s appointments; yet only 57% surveyed reported they got the help they needed. Additional highlights from the report — representing a wide variety of arthritis types, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and the number of years since diagnosed — include:

  • Pain can no longer be ignored. Pain alone is causing damaging effects through lack of mobility, chronic sleeplessness and constant fatigue among patients. 
    • 100% of patients reported pain over the last seven days — with an average pain score of 5 on a 10-point scale.
    • 92% of patients reported that pain interfered with their day-to- day activities.
    • 43% reported that they could not walk at all or had major difficulty walking for at least 15 minutes during the past seven days.
    • Less than a third slept well in the past seven days, and 73% reported feeling fatigued over that same period.
  • Arthritis is causing life-altering effects in employment and social interactions as well as takes a big emotional toll.
    • 72% reported having trouble doing all usual work, including work from home.
    • 67% reported having trouble doing all the family activities they want to do.
    • Two-thirds of patients said they felt depressed or anxious and/or fearful over the last seven days.

“People from across the country shared their stories about how arthritis has taken a profound and oftentimes devastating toll on their lives – everything from not being able to hold their newborn baby to being forced into a vicious cycle of unemployment,” said Cindy McDaniel, senior vice president of consumer health for the Arthritis Foundation. “The patients who participated in this study have taken the first step by joining the Arthritis Foundation to change the course of arthritis. Through the Live Yes! Arthritis Network, we’re urging patients to continue taking the assessment on an ongoing basis. Together, our collective voices allow us to impact policymakers, scientists and the health care system to shape a better future for all people with arthritis.”

To overcome this, the Arthritis Foundation is arming its constituents with the skills, savviness and unwavering determination to get the kind of care every single person deserves — from learning how to be an advocate to serving as a local group leader for people with arthritis.

“Our report, A Mandate for Action, reveals that neither the health care system nor society devotes enough attention and resources to helping people with arthritis,” the Foundation’s Ann M. Palmer added. “For example, those making less than $75,000 per year aren’t receiving the full attention of the health care system early in their diagnosis. The Arthritis Foundation is leading the charge with providers and patients, to address the true effects of arthritis in the major areas of pain, lack of sleep, anxiety and depression.”

The Arthritis Foundation is already making progress at the local level by hosting Live Yes! INSIGHTS LIVE events. These special interactive events will offer attendees an inside look at the latest findings and a chance to help find solutions that make a life-changing impact for the whole arthritis community. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and network with other thought leaders. The events are free, but registration is required.

Additionally, the Arthritis Foundation is holding a congressional briefing with remarks from Arthritis Caucus co-chair representatives on March 10, to discuss findings from A Mandate for Action.

Be among those changing lives today and help change the course for the 54 million Americans with arthritis. Visit to learn more.     

Lynn Parsons
[email protected]


About the Arthritis Foundation:

The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride toward a cure. The Foundation also publishes Arthritis Today, the award-winning magazine that reaches 4 million readers.

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