10% of U.S. Adults Physically Limited by Arthritis
Experts say obesity epidemic has widened the pool of disabled
What is worrisome is that more people with arthritis also have limitations of their activity, she agreed. "This is really a warning; it's saying you really need to do something about this," she said.
Although you can't stop aging, you can decrease the impact of arthritis, White noted.
"The reason why the activity limitation has gone up for people with arthritis is because of obesity," she said. Losing weight and exercising are the keys to fighting the disease, added White.
The hand and the knee are the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis, White said.
"Just a little weight reduction and physical activity decreases osteoarthritis of the knee and takes away your pain," she said. "It's amazing what just a little bit can do to stem the tide."
White noted that many people with knee arthritis will end up getting a knee replacement. "But that's not the answer," she said. "If you are obese, the outcome of a knee replacement is much worse."
According to Consumer Reports, a knee replacement can cost anywhere from $17,800 to $42,750, depending on where in the United States it's done. Most insurance, including Medicare, covers the procedure, but there are additional costs involved in recovery and rehabilitation.
"If you have a little bit of knee pain, you need to get active now, because you really can prevent this," White said.