CDC Survey Highlights Arthritis Population by Age, State

Approximately one in four U.S. adults identified with arthritis

With almost 55 million U.S. adults dealing with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, the time has come for research into risk factors, prevalence, and other identifying factors.

The CDC recently analyzed 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to estimate current state-specific prevalence of arthritis and among adults with arthritis, the prevalence of severe joint pain and physical inactivity.

BRFSS is an ongoing telephone survey of adults ages 18 and older in the United States conducted by state, commonwealth, and territorial health departments. In 2017, they found a median state-based prevalence of 22.8 percent (the District of Columbia reported the lowest rate; West Virginia the highest.) Overall, the highest incidences were in Appalachia and the Lower Mississippi Valley regions.

Generally speaking, southeastern states were hardest hit with severe joint pain and physical inactivity. Having arthritis was defined as a response of “yes” to the question “Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health care professional that you have arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia?”

Prevalence was unsurprisingly higher with increasing age, from 8.4 percent of those ages 18-44 to just over 50 percent of those aged 65 and over.

SOURCE: Guglielmo D, Murphy LB, Boring MA, et al. State-Specific Severe Joint Pain and Physical Inactivity Among Adults with Arthritis — United States, 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:381–387.


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