It’s number one, and that’s not a good thing

May is Arthritis Awareness month. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States and there are a few things you’ll want to know

May 7, 2019

In May, the activities of summer ramp up. You’ll see people walking or running around lakes, working in gardens and yards. Tee times start to fill up at the golf course. Sign-up sheets for the softball league get passed around the office.

If you’re one of the 50 million people with arthritis in this country, you may have to think twice about your activities this summer.1 What’s the right level of activity for your arthritis? With rest and stretching, can you participate? Do you need to cut back a little? A lot?

Arthritis affects one in every five adults in this country and that number is growing.¹

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms come and go and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms may stay the same for years, or get worse over time. People with severe arthritis have chronic pain. They can have trouble with daily activities, even walking or climbing stairs. Besides affecting hobbies and activities around the house, people with arthritis miss more than 172 million workdays every year.¹

Treatments vary and may include rest, physical therapy, exercise, weight loss, medication and even surgery.

People with arthritis often have other chronic conditions:¹

  • 57 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis.
  • 52 percent of adults with diabetes have arthritis.
  • 44 percent of adults with high blood pressure have arthritis.
  • 36 percent of adults who are obese have arthritis.

Each of these other conditions has their own set of symptoms and treatment plan. One person could be on a few different medications to help control two or more conditions. Adherence and regular check-ins with your doctor can help manage any symptom or side effect interaction.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are two major types of arthritis.

Prime has conducted extensive clinical research on its members with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This research on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) looks at the use of certain types of medication, adherence and total cost of care. We dig deeper for insights that help us support better health outcomes.

Our analysis of integrated medical and pharmacy data can show us a lot about whether members are getting the most effective treatment for their RA, according to clinical guidelines. We believe following clinical guidelines improves the standard of care.

If you want to learn more, the following infographic and articles go into more detail about Prime’s research on RA.

Rheumatoid arthritis infographic

Part 1: What is rheumatoid arthritis and why is it important?

Part 2: The role of biologic drugs — DMARDS — in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Part 3: What can a PBM and plan sponsor do to help someone with rheumatoid arthritis?


  1. Arthritis Foundation. Accessed at: http://blog.arthritis.org/news/arthritis-awareness-month/

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