Bill O’Reilly, during the debate with Jon Stewart, argued that America has become an “entitlement society” that claims for disability coverage from the government just “because they can” and because “it’s easier now.”
Specifically, he said this: “You’re telling me in the last 4 years, in the workplace, arthritis has swept in?”
Well, actually, yes.
Why Arthritis Rates Are on the Rise
If it seems as though more people you know are living with arthritis, it’s not your imagination. Our aging population is experiencing more joint pain.
When we think of epidemics, we think of diseases such as the flu or HIV. But according to recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis has the potential to turn into a quality-of-life epidemic, if not a life-threatening one. National estimates state that the number of adults living with arthritis is increasing at the rate of one million people every year. Currently, 50 million adults in the United States have arthritis, up 4 million from about four years ago. This increase is part of a trend that points toward an estimated 67 million adults who will be living with arthritis by 2030.
Bill O’Reilly also asked: “I want to know why there’s an explosion in disability in four years? What is it that has come in to cause so many more people to be ill?”
From the same source:
Here are some of the factors that contribute to these numbers:
- Age. “Advancing age is a strong risk factor,” explains Dr. Mikdashi. Being female and older, particularly over age 75, can further increase that risk. “Women are likely to have more rapid joint destruction as well compared to men,” says Mikdashi.
- Obesity. Not only is a greater proportion of our population aging, but rates of obesity are increasing as well — and the more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have chronic pain, according to a recent report in the journal Obesity. One reason is because carrying excess weight means greater wear and tear on joints and their cartilage. In fact, people who are obese are twice as likely to develop arthritis of the knee than people of normal weight. About 30 percent of people who are obese have arthritis, compared to 17 percent of those at a healthy weight. People who are obese and have arthritis are also likely to need a joint replacement and have more difficulty recovering from the procedure.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Rates of the inflammatory disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are on the rise, says Mikdashi, which means there will be increasing rates of related osteoarthritis. RA can damage joints, leaving them vulnerable to developing osteoarthritis over time.
- Vitamin D deficiency. Research suggests that a lack of vitamin D not only puts people at risk for weakened bones, but also for osteoarthritis. With diets that feature fewer vitamin-D enriched foods and healthy skin habits that include wearing daily sunscreen, people are getting less vitamin D than they need, and possibly putting their joints at risk. Mikdashi says research into this connection is ongoing.