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CDC: One in Four US Adults have Arthritis

MMWR reports that in 2017, one in four US adults have arthritis (range from 22.8% to 34.6%), with higher rates in Appalachia and Lower Mississippi Valley regions. Of those with arthritis, 31% reported to have "severe arthritis".

An estimated 54.4 million (approximately one in four) U.S. adults have physician-diagnosed arthritis. CDC analyzed 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to estimate current state-specific prevalence of arthritis.

Among adults with arthritis, age-standardized, state-specific prevalences of both severe joint pain (median = 30.3%; range = 20.8% [Colorado] to 45.2% [Mississippi]) and physical inactivity (median = 33.7%; range = 23.2% [Colorado] to 44.4% [Kentucky]) were highest in southeastern states.

Physical inactivity prevalence among those with severe joint pain (47.0%) was higher than that among those with moderate (31.8%) or no/mild joint pain (22.6%). Self-management strategies such as maintaining a healthy weight or being physically active can reduce arthritis pain and prevent or delay arthritis-related disability. Evidence-based physical activity and self-management education programs are available that can improve quality of life among adults with arthritis.

In 2017, age-specific arthritis prevalence was higher with increasing age, ranging from 8.1% among those aged 18–44 years to 50.4% among those aged ≥65 years (Table 1). Age-standardized arthritis prevalence was significantly higher among women (25.4%) than among men (19.1%); non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives (29.7%) than among other racial/ethnic groups (range = 12.8%–25.5%); and those unable to work/disabled (51.3%), compared with retired (34.3%), unemployed (26.0%), or employed/self-employed (17.7%).

Arthritis prevalence was higher with increasing body mass index, ranging from 17.9% among those with healthy weight or underweight to 30.4% among those with obesity. Arthritis prevalence was lower among Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians than among other racial/ethnic groups, was inversely related to education and federal poverty level, and was higher among those living in more rural areas compared with urban dwellers.

Among adults with arthritis, no/mild, moderate, and severe joint pain was reported by 36.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 35.7%–36.8%), 33.0% (CI = 32.4%–33.5%), and 30.8% (CI = 30.3%–31.4%) of respondents, respectively (unadjusted prevalences). Age-specific percentages for severe joint pain declined with increasing age, ranging from 33.0% among those aged 18–44 years to 25.1% among those aged ≥65 years.

Age-standardized severe joint pain prevalence was ≥40% among the following groups: those unable to work/disabled (66.9%); those with less than a high school diploma (54.1%); those living at ≤125% federal poverty level (51.6%); non-Hispanic blacks (50.9%); retired persons (45.8%); Hispanics (42.0%); non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (42.0%); and lesbian/gay/bisexual/queer/questioning (40.7%; reported by 27 states). Severe joint pain prevalence was similar across urban/rural geographic areas, ranging from 32.7%–35.7% in all areas, except for a lower prevalence (28.6%) in large fringe metro areas (Table 1).

Among adults with arthritis, age-specific physical inactivity prevalence was higher with increasing age (ranging from 31.0% among those aged 18–44 years to 37.0% among those aged ≥65 years). Age-standardized physical inactivity prevalence was ≥40% among the following groups: those unable to work/disabled (51.2%); those with less than a high school diploma (46.4%); those living at ≤125% federal poverty level (42.6%); and non-Hispanic blacks (40.4%). Physical inactivity prevalence increased with increasing rurality and with increasing joint pain levels (ranging from 22.6% among those with no/mild joint pain to 47.0% among those with severe joint pain).

Median age-standardized state prevalence of arthritis among adults aged ≥18 years was 22.8% (range = 15.7% [DC] to 34.6% [West Virginia]) (Table 2) and was highest in Appalachia and Lower Mississippi Valley regions. Among 144,099 adults with arthritis, median age-standardized state prevalences of severe joint pain and physical inactivity were 30.3% (range = 20.8% [Colorado] to 45.2% [Mississippi]) and 33.7% (range = 23.2% [Colorado] to 44.4% [Kentucky]), respectively. Age-standardized severe joint pain (Figure) and physical inactivity prevalences were highest in southeastern states.


The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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