In their new analysis of the 2015 NHIS data, researchers showed that arthritis affects a much higher percentage of the U.S. adult population, including substantially more people under 65, than was previously thought. Among study participants in the 18–64 age range, arthritis prevalence measured 29.9% in men and 31.2% in women, and among the group 65 and older, it measured 55.8% in men and 68.7% in women.
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Overall, nearly 37% of the population for a total of 91.2 million U.S. adults had arthritis in 2015, according to the revised estimates. That’s 68% higher than the 54 million CDC estimate, say the authors.
“The rising rates of total knee and hip replacement surgeries can partially be contributed to obesity, but also [to] insufficient awareness and prevention efforts for arthritis in adults younger than 65,” says Dr. Jafarzadeh.
These findings, which aim to correct national estimates of arthritis in the U.S., are key to addressing the current and future economic and public health impacts of the disease, says Dr. Jafarzadeh.
“Arthritis is a major public health concern and significantly impacts U.S. adults’ health and well-being, including younger Americans,” he says. “The under-investment in arthritis research, awareness and prevention is going to cost us a significant healthcare expenditure and a loss of productivity [due to] disability down the road.”
Catherine Kolonko is a medical writer based in Oregon.
- Jafarzadeh SR, Felson DT. Updated estimates suggest a much higher prevalence of arthritis in United States adults than previous ones. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2018 Feb;70(2):185–192.
- Sacks JJ, Harrold LR, Helmick CG, et al. Validation of a surveillance case definition for arthritis. J Rheumatol. 2005 Feb;32(2):340–347.