CDC: One in three adults has arthritis

February 1, 2003

Pharmaceutical Representative

One in three U.S. adults is affected by arthritis or chronic joint symptoms, according to the CDC.

One in three U.S. adults is affected by arthritis or chronic joint symptoms, according to a state-by-state survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new data put the number of adults with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms at 70 million (33%), an increase over the previous estimate that 43 million had arthritis. Researchers said the earlier estimate was probably too low and that arthritis-related questions on the new survey more accurately capture undiagnosed persons with chronic joint symptoms.

"Arthritis is the number-one cause of disability, and the new data confirm that arthritis and chronic joint symptoms are one of our most common public health problems," said CDC Director Julie L. Gerberding.

The survey was conducted through telephone interviews of more than 212,000 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older who were asked if their doctor had ever told them they had arthritis or if they had experienced chronic joint symptoms during the past 12 months.

Varied results

The percentages of people reporting arthritis or chronic joint symptoms varied widely among the states: Hawaii had the lowest rate (17.8%), and West Virginia had the highest (42.6%).

More women than men (37.3% and 28.4%, respectively) reported having arthritis or chronic joint symptoms, and whites (35.3%) and blacks (31.5%) were more likely to report these conditions than Hispanics (23.3%) and other races or ethnic groups (27.8%). The 33% of adults with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms comprised 10.6% reporting doctor-diagnosed arthritis, 10.0% reporting chronic joint symptoms and 12.4% reporting both.

"These numbers show us that now, more than ever, arthritis is a fact of life," said John H. Klippel, medical director of the Atlanta-based Arthritis Foundation. "Americans must take their joint health seriously, and see a healthcare provider at the earliest warning signs of arthritis, so that they can continue to enjoy active lives and avoid any future limitations." PR

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