More than 46 million adults in the U.S. have arthritis, while 20 million adults have diabetes, most of them with both conditions.
Exercise such as walking, swimming and biking can help manage both.
For diabetics, physical activity helps control blood sugar. Diabetics who do not exercise can are prone to infections and then need amputations.
John Klippel is president of the Arthritis Foundation. He spoke at a recent hearing in Washington. "If you have the combination of arthritis and diabetes , you do not pay attention to physical activity, and we know that is important for the control of diabetes."
But arthritis gets in the way of exercise.
The CDC study found that one third of adults with both arthritis and diabetes were inactive, compared with one out of five who had diabetes alone.
Dr. Klippel says arthritis affects a broad range of Americans including three hundred thousand children. The most common form of the disease is osteoarthritis, where joint cartilage breaks down. Osteoarthritis mostly affects people over 45.
Dr. Klippel says arthritis is the major cause of disability in the U.S. But it also has economic costs. "Arthritis takes people out of the work force and there is obviously the health care cost. The aggregate number is 128 billion dollars a year and that number will increase with the number of people with arthritis."
The causes and cure for arthritis are unknown, although obesity seems to be a risk factor. Obesity is also a risk factor for diabetes, providing the possible link between the two diseases.
Dr. Klippel said public health campaigns to control diabetes should pay attention to the problem of arthritis and the need for exercise.
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