Wednesday, 12 Dec 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.

 

Men

<65yrs

Women

<65 yrs

Men

>65yrs

Women

>65yrs

Joint Sxs

(with "arthritis" Dx

19.3%16.7%15.7%13.5%
"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.

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

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