Prevalence of Arthritis in the US Much Higher Than Current Estimates

New research shows that the predominance of arthritis in the United States has been considerably underestimated, particularly among adults younger than 65 years old. The discoveries, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, demonstrate that research is expected to better research arthritis prevalence in the U.S. population and to population better prevention strategies.

On a single survey question, current estimates of arthritis depend, asking members whether they remember being ever told by a health professional that they have arthritis, without utilizing information on patients’ joint symptoms that are available in the survey. Since many cases of arthritis might be missed, S. Reza Jafarzadeh, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D., and David T. Felson, MD, MPH, of Boston University School of Medicine, developed a method for arthritis surveillance based on doctor-diagnosed arthritis, chronic joint symptoms, and whether symptom span exceeded three months.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.n their analysis of the 2015 NHIS, it was found that arthritis affects a much higher percentage of the U.S. adult population and at a younger age than previously thought. Among 33,672 members, 19.3% of men and 16.7% of women ages of 18 to 64 years reported with joint symptoms and without a simultaneous report of doctor-diagnosed arthritis. For participants 65 years of age and older, the particular extents were 15.7% and 13.5%.

The prevalence of arthritis was 29.9% in men ages 18– 64 years, 31.2% in women ages 18– 64 years, 55.8% in men ages 65 years and older, and 68.7% in women ages 65 years and older. Arthritis affected 91.2 million U.S. adults (36.8% of the population) in 2015, which included 61.1 million persons between 18–64 years (31.6% of the population). In the present surveillance methods, the prevalence estimate is 68% higher than already revealed arthritis national estimates that did not correct for measurement errors.

Dr. Jafarzadeh said, “Our discoveries are vital due to underestimated, yet enormous, economic and public health effects of arthritis including health care costs and costs from loss of disability and efficiency also in adults younger than 65 years of age. Among adults affected by arthritis, a rising rate of surgeries such as total knee replacement that outpaced obesity rates.

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