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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > A-Z Health Topics > A-D > Arthritis


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC), arthritis or joint inflammation is the single greatest cause of chronic pain and disability. 

  • Includes more than 100 diseases and conditions:
    • Most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis; and
    • Other common rheumatic conditions include gout, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Affects joints, surrounding and other connective tissue;
  • Causes chronic pain, aching, stiffness and/or swelling in and around a joint;
  • May involve vital organs with systemic disorders;
  • Affects all race and ethnic groups;
  • Risk of arthritis increases with age and is more common among women than men; however, approximately one in every 250 children have some form of arthritis or rheumatic condition ; and
  • More than half of adults with diabetes or heart disease   also have arthritis. 

In 2009, an estimated 49.9 million adults (just over one in five adults) in the United States reported being told by a doctor that they had some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or fibromyalgia.   Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States , limiting the activities of nearly 19 million adults.

Pennsylvania reports 31 percent or over 2.95 million Pennsylvania adults were told by a doctor they have arthritis; of this group:

  • 75 percent had pain, swelling, or stiffness around their joints in the past 30 days;
  •  35 percent reported their usual activity was limited due to arthritis; and
  •  Arthritis is seen with other conditions that may include lupus .       


View CDC graph for Pennsylvania