Since arthritis is so common — nearly one in four Americans have some form of arthritis — you might assume that you can find decent care and support for it almost anywhere in the country. But the reality, according to a new report from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), is quite different.
The 2018 Rheumatic Disease Report Card, the first report of its kind, graded all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on how livable they are for people with rheumatic diseases (which includes arthritis as well as other conditions that impact the joints, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles).
To determine the ratings, ACR considered three key factors: access (is rheumatologic care widely available?); affordability (how expensive is it to live with a rheumatic disease?); and activity/lifestyle (how easy is it to be active with a rheumatic disease?).
Only one state, Maryland, got an overall grade of “A.”
New York, Vermont, Colorado, and Connecticut merited “Bs” but also made the top five list.
Most states earned a “B” or “C,” but two states (Alabama and Oklahoma) received a “D.”
South Carolina, Wyoming, and Mississippi managed to get “Cs,” but were also in the bottom five states.
What Makes Maryland So Special?
According to the report’s authors, Maryland scored the highest marks for the best state to live in with Arthritis because it has a very high concentration of rheumatologists and a low rate of residents without health insurance.
It also boasts many CDC-funded arthritis intervention programs, including those run by the YMCA and the National Recreation and Park Association. Part of these perks come thanks to legislation that’s made it easier and more affordable to live with a rheumatic disease in the state of Maryland.
The Best States to Live In with a Rheumatic Disease
In alphabetical order:
Maryland (The only state to get an “A”)
The Worst States to Live In with a Rheumatic Disease
In alphabetical order:
Alabama (One of two states to get a “D”)
District of Columbia
Oklahoma (One of two states to get a “D”)
Download the full report to get more info about how your state fared in specific areas (access, affordability, and activity/lifestyle).
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