Young People Impacted By Arthritis Increasing. Planning Early Important.

Arthritis pain is increasingly impacting younger people, says the CDC. Arthritis limits the daily activities of 24 million adults in the USA and often increases your risk of needing long-term health care.

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Young People Impacted By Arthritis Increasing. Planning Early Important.
5 Min Read April 10th, 2017 Updated:December 6th, 2021

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs Report, about 58.5 million American adults have been diagnosed with some type of arthritis (painful joint inflammation and stiffness), rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. Learn more about That breaks down to about one in four adults in the nation.

Arthritis prevalence increases with age. The CDC says over 78 million Americans will have arthritis by 2040. That is a lot of people, and you may be one of them.

According to the CDC, arthritis limits the daily activities of 24 million adults in the United States, making it hard for them to hold a cup, lift a grocery bag, or walk to their car. And, the percentage of adults limited by arthritis continues to worsen and has increased by about 20 percent since 2002.

More Than 50 Million Americans Have Arthritis

Overall, people with arthritis—a condition that can result in pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling of the joints are at an all-time high. More than 58 million adults in the US have it, and almost 60 percent, or about 32 million, of those with arthritis, are of working age (ages 18-64).

Arthritis is a big deal since, with age, arthritis will create problems with a person’s ability to perform normal activities of daily living (ADL’s). Arthritis is one of the major reasons a person may require long-term health care. 

The costs and burdens that come with long-term care can cause a substantial impact on a family’s assets since most long-term health care is not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicare Supplements. Medicaid will pay for long-term health care if a person has little or no income and assets.

Unless a person has Long-Term Care Insurance, the cost will adversely impact savings and causes a tremendous burden on family members.

“Arthritis symptoms keep millions of Americans from living life to the fullest. Doctors and loved ones can help people with arthritis by encouraging them to be as physically active as they can be.  Physical activity is a proven strategy to ease pain and reduce symptoms among people with arthritis.”

Anne Schuchat, MD, Acting Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Speaking to CNN, Dr. Schuchat said that this is not your mother's arthritis.

"Contrary to popular opinion, it is not an old person's disease."

 Dr. Anne Schuchat.

Maintaining Phsycial Activity is Essential to Good Health With Aging

Symptoms of arthritis can be reduced with physical activity and educational programs. When people with arthritis engage in physical activity, they can reduce their arthritis symptoms by up to 40 percent. Adults with arthritis also can reduce their symptoms by participating in disease management education programs.

“The impact of arthritis on disability, health and long term care need is significant.”

Jesse Slome, executive director for the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI).

“The economic burden of musculoskeletal disease in the oldest old is potentially huge and its management presents a major challenge to American families.”

Jesse Slome 

Diet Might Help

What can you do? A Mediterranean diet may help. According to the Arthritis Foundation, not only can the Mediterranean diet benefit your joints and curb inflammation, but it can also lower blood pressure, protect against many chronic conditions ranging from cancer to stroke, benefit your heart, and lead to weight loss, which in turn is of great benefit in managing joint pain.

The CDC says arthritis is a significant and growing clinical and public health problem. It impacts a person’s ability to do normal activities, younger people are being impacted, and the impact on a person increases with age causing disability and the need for long-term care. Arthritis can cause mobility problems, another leading cause of needing long-term health care services and supports. 

Long-Term Care Insurance Offers Access to Quality Care 

Many financial experts point out this is another reason for advance planning for long-term health care. Since regular health insurance or Medicare will not pay for any custodial care (help with daily activities), the cost comes out-of-pocket unless you have Long-Term Care Insurance. 

However, a person must health qualify for Long-Term Care Insurance, so experts recommend obtaining coverage younger, before retirement. We start seeing significant changes in our health and bodies once we get past age 40. Many of these changes, including arthritis, will increase your risk of needing extended care. 

The costs of long-term care services increase yearly. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows the current and future cost of extended care services where you live. Plus, other state-specific information is available, including care options, tax incentives, and available solutions. When reviewing the calculator, you can determine how much help you will need in paying for quality care.

Cash Flow and Family Issue

Long-term care is both a cash flow and a family problem. Many families have failed to plan, and their families must become caregivers. Family caregivers experience physical and emotional difficulties as they attempt to balance the needs of the care recipient and their own careers and families. 

When you own a Long-Term Care policy, you will have access to your choice of quality care, including in-home care services that most people prefer. You are protecting income and assets, but you are also giving your family the time to be family.

Experts suggest obtaining coverage when you still enjoy relatively good health, ideally in your 40s or 50s. Premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies, so be sure to seek the assistance of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who works with the top companies. 

Meanwhile, understand you will have more aches and pains as you get older. Sometimes the pain and discomfort are more than just a nuisance. Planning now will reduce the stress and anxiety on you and your family decades from now. 

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

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