One in Four Adults Report Having Arthritis

Prevalence of osteoarthritis more than doubled, while rheumatoid arthritis declined, 1999 to 2014
Prevalence of osteoarthritis more than doubled, while rheumatoid arthritis declined, 1999 to 2014

HealthDay News — Between 1999 and 2014, nearly one-quarter of American adults reported having arthritis, according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Public Health.

Juyoung Park, PhD, from the Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, and colleagues analyzed data on 43,706 community-dwelling adults (≥20 years) who participated in the 1999 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The authors sought to determine the prevalence trends of osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other types of arthritis in the United States. 

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The researchers found that the age-adjusted prevalence of arthritis was 24.7% (OA, 9.7%; RA, 4.2%; other arthritis, 2.8%). Over the study period the prevalence of OA increased from 6.6 to 14.3%, while RA prevalence decreased from 5.9 to 3.8%. This increase in OA prevalence was significant for men and women, multiple races, and people with high socioeconomic status. Men, non-Hispanic blacks, and participants with low income or obesity had the most pronounced decrease in RA prevalence.

"Given the health and economic burden of arthritis, understanding prevalence trends is of significant public health interest," Park said in a statement. "Because of these burdens, developing cost-saving and effective treatments are necessary to minimize arthritis symptoms, maximize functional capacity, reduce disability, and moreover, improve the quality of life for the more than 350 million people worldwide who are affected by arthritis."

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