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Arthritis Takes its Toll

Arthritis takes a very heavy toll both financially and in human suffering. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently said that 28% of American adults have been diagnosed with arthritis.

Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the United States and a major financial drain on the health care system. The percentage of those diagnosed with a form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or fibromyalgia range from 17% in Hawaii to 36% in Alabama, according to a 30 state survey.

Besides causing untold human suffering, the disease exacts a heavy financial toll. The direct and indirect costs of arthritis and other related rheumatic diseases was 86.2 billion dollars in 1997, equivalent to 1% of the nation's gross domestic product.

It goes without saying that arthritis is a huge public health problem in the United States, and over time it unfortunately is expected to get worse.