Nearly 70 million Americans, or 1 in every 3 persons, have arthritis. It affects people of all ages, but it most often occurs as a person gets older. Obesity appears to strongly affect females more than males in weight-bearing joints (hip and knee). Arthritis negatively impacts an individual's overall well being. It bears a physical, psychological, social and economic toll on a person. The physical effects include pain, stiffness and loss of joint mobility. Psychological effects, such as depression, anxiety, feelings of helplessness, and reduced self-esteem can result in social isolation. Embarrassment and discomfort in public due to physical changes can reduce community involvement. Economic effects include cost of treatment or loss of income due to disability. Early medical treatment and physical and vocational rehabilitation can help prevent many of the physical, psychological, social and economic effects of arthritis.
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