Anne Osmer Reporting

Arthritis can be a barrier for those seeking to manage diabetes through physical activity, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control study. More than half of adults with diagnosed diabetes also suffer from arthritis.

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The study, published in the May 9 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the CDC, analyzed data on the prevalence of physical inactivity among adults with arthritis and diabetes.

The study found that 29.8 percent of adults with both arthritis and diabetes were physically inactive, compared to 21 percent suffering from diabetes alone, 17.3 percent of those with arthritis alone, and 10.9 percent of adults with neither condition.

The study suggests that the presence of arthritis acts as an additional barrier to physical activity among those with diabetes.

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Arthritis is a frequent co-morbid condition for adults with diabetes,” said Dr. John H. Klippel. president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. But for both diseases, physical activity is key to effective management.  A lack of physical activity actually results in undesirable consequences including increased pain, stiffness, inflammation, physical limitation and potential disability.

Adults with arthritis and diabetes often have unique concerns about physical activity such as pain, aggravating or worsening joint damage, and not knowing how much or what types of activities are safe.

“People who have arthritis, diabetes or both benefit from being physically active,” said Janet Collins, director of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  “We know it can be difficult, but regular physical activity helps in many ways.  For people with diabetes, physical activity helps control blood glucose and risk factors for complications.  For people with arthritis, physical activity reduces pain, and improves function.”

Disease self-management programs, including programs that address arthritis-specific barriers, may help adults with arthritis and diabetes better manage their diseases.  More information can be found on this CDC Web page and on the Arthritis Foundation’s programs page.

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