What is Arthritis?
The term "arthritis" is used to describe a group of more than 100 conditions affecting the joints and tissues, including:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- carpal tunnel syndrome
Its disabling effects are best addressed by early diagnosis and treatment. Medical management, education, self-management and exercise can reduce arthritis pain, slow the progression of the disease, and reduce disability.
Arthritis affects people of all ages and genders (nearly three of every five people with arthritis are younger than 65 years) and is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Approximately one in every six Americans is affected, and this proportion is expected to rise to nearly one in five by the year 2020, as the average age of our population advances.
Arthritis has a significant impact on quality of life for those with the condition -- and for their families. Not only does the disease cause painful symptoms, it can also limit people's ability to care for themselves and participate fully in their home and community.
The Arthritis Program
The Vermont Arthritis Program focuses both on people directly affected by arthritis and also on people indirectly affected, such as family members, friends and health care providers.
Our long-term objective is to decrease levels of pain and disability, to improve physical, psychosocial and work functioning abilities, and to improve the quality of life for Vermonters affected by arthritis.
The Arthritis Program was established with the help of a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta as part of a cooperative agreement program for "Reducing the Burden of Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Conditions."
In 1999, only 24 percent of Vermonters who reported having been diagnosed with arthritis said they were currently receiving treatment. Our goal, articulated in the publication Healthy Vermonters 2010, is to increase this percentage.
The current State Arthritis Plan includes the following goals:
- increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms of arthritis, and the management options for dealing with it.
- increasing awareness of the need for early diagnosis and appropriate management.
- increasing the inclusion of self-management as a part of routine medical care of arthritis.
- increasing participation in self-management programs.
For more information about this program, contact
Jean McCandless, MSW
Arthritis Program Manager
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street
Burlington, Vermont 05402-0070
Phone: (802) 951-4068
FAX: (802) 657-4208