Tuesday, 20 Mar 2018

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Prevalence of Arthritis Grossly Underestimated

Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine have published a new report showing that arthritis affected 91 million adults in the US in 2015 or 37% of the poplulation. Their prevalence estimate is 68% higher than previously reported arthritis national estimates. (Citation source: https://buff.ly/2hWzUxf+)

Prior national estimates of arthritis rely on a single survey question, asking the patient if they have ever been told they have arthritis by a health professional. Jafarzadeh and Felson took this a step further to assess prevalence based on a combination of factors - doctor-diagnosed arthritis, chronic joint symptoms, and whether symptom duration exceeded three months.

They analyzed 33,672 participants in the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and found that arthritis affects a much higher percentage of the US adult population, particularly underestimating arthritis in younger adults (<65 years old).

19.3 percent of men and 16.7 percent of women age18-64 years reported joint symptoms without a concurrent report of a doctor-diagnosed arthritis. For participants 65 years of age and older, the respective proportions were 15.7 percent and 13.5 percent.





<65 yrs





Joint Sxs

(with "arthritis" Dx

"Arthritis" Dx by MD29.9%31.2%55.8%68.7%


The authors suggest that current arthritis surveillance methods should be revised to correct for inherent limitations and to increase accuracy.

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

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