Remember the “Age of Aquarius”?

Well, if you do, prepare for the Age of … Arthritis.

Recently released reports indicate that increasing numbers of baby boomers are creaking, cracking, aching and ouching their way to and through midlife.

Nationally, 70 million adult Americans (also one in three) are affected by arthritis or chronic joint symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimates.

Arthritis and rheumatic diseases cost the country $124.8 billion annually, an estimated $42.6 billion in direct medical costs and $82.2 billion in lost productivity. By 2030, those numbers could more than double, experts say.

Jennifer Bombard of the Georgia Arthritis Foundation says most people don’t realize the prevalence or the societal impact of arthritis — or that their new aches and pains may be arthritis.

Arthritis constitutes more than 100 conditions. The initial signs include pain, swelling and limited movement that last for more than two weeks.

Genetics may place a person at risk for some types of arthritis. Health experts suggest these ways to prevent or manage arthritis pain: Maintain an appropriate weight, exercise regularly, and — most important — seek an early diagnosis to prevent joint damage and disability.

People with arthritis are three times as likely to be burdened with pain that affects regular activities, including missing work. But physical activity can help reduce disability from arthritis and help ensure an active life, doctors say.

Research recently published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research calculated the benefits.

“Vigorous physical activity could reduce disability among older adults with arthritis by 5 (percent) to 10 percent,” said lead author Dorothy D. Dunlop of Northwestern Uni- versity’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

The condition also can be deadly. Some joint diseases weaken the immune system, which makes infections more deadly.

Also, the disease can affect vital organs such as the heart, kidney and lungs.