Arthritis Foundation Champions "Visionary Blueprint" on Lessening Toll of Chronic Illness

Jan 31, 2012, 13:53 ET from Arthritis Foundation

IOM Recommendations Call for Paradigm Shift

ATLANTA, Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The Arthritis Foundation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are proud supporters of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report released today outlining a new vision and plan of action to reduce the crisis proportions of chronic illness that threaten the nation's health and economic welfare.

According to the report, Living Well with Chronic Illness: A Call for Public Health Action, chronic illnesses have a profound impact on the overall health of our nation. It is estimated that 133 million people in this country live with a chronic disease.  One in four Americans has multiple (two or more) chronic illnesses, and chronic diseases account for 70 percent of all deaths. Moreover, chronic illnesses are a major contributor to health care costs, representing 75 percent of the $2 trillion in U.S. annual health care spending. Chronic illness diminishes the nation's productivity and well-being. 

This groundbreaking report outlines a comprehensive framework of cross-cutting, coordinated strategies that can reduce the individual and societal burdens.

The Arthritis Foundation applauds the IOM for calling attention to the staggering toll of chronic diseases, like arthritis, and for developing a visionary blueprint that calls for a paradigm shift in the way our health system deals with this growing problem.

"Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and results in people losing their independence and their ability to care for themselves and their other chronic diseases," says Arthritis Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. John H. Klippel. "More than 50 percent of people with heart disease and diabetes have arthritis. We're excited to embrace this new vision and welcome new partners to reduce the impact of all chronic illness in this country."

The IOM study was commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arthritis Foundation in 2010 to help identify public health actions to reduce disability and improve the function and quality of life among people who are at high risk of developing a chronic illness and those with one or more chronic illnesses.

The IOM-appointed study committee looked at a variety of diseases, health conditions and physical impairments that significantly affect a person's health and quality of life, as well as the nation's economy. Nine "exemplar" conditions were identified: arthritis, cancer survivorship, chronic pain, dementia, depression, type 2 diabetes, posttraumatic disabling conditions, schizophrenia, and vision and hearing loss.

Among the actions presented in Living Well with Chronic Illness: A Call for Public Health Action:

  • Strengthen public health actions to manage chronic disease by looking holistically at the multiple diseases, health conditions and physical impairments that significantly affect a person's health and quality of life, as well as the nation's economy.
  • Enhance collaboration between public health, health care and local communities to produce better prevention and treatment outcomes for people living with chronic illness.
  • Develop a comprehensive surveillance system to better document the improvements attained with this new approach to holistic care of people with chronic illness.
  • Develop new public policies to further promote living well with chronic illness.
  • Develop new and expand promising evidenced-based public health interventions aimed at preventing chronic illness.

The Arthritis Foundation joins the IOM in calling on all sectors of the health and health care systems to collaborate and focus more attention on helping people live well with chronic illnesses and be a productive part of our society.

Visit to find evidence-based programs and services that help people with arthritis and other chronic illnesses lead healthier and more independent lives.

About the Arthritis Foundation

Striking one in every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability.  The Arthritis Foundation ( is committed to raising awareness and reducing the unacceptable impact of this serious and painful disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest.  The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions who live with arthritis; and partners with families to provide empowering programs and information.  

SOURCE Arthritis Foundation