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Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis & selected musculoskeletal disorders in the United States

  [ 24 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Lawrence RC, Helmick CG, Arnett FC, Deyo RA, Felson DT, Giannini EH, Heyse SP, Hirsch R, Hochberg MC, Hunder GG, Liang MH, Pillemer SR, Steen VD, Wolfe F • • May 6, 1998

OBJECTIVE: To provide a single source for the best available
estimates of the national prevalence of arthritis in general
and of selected musculoskeletal disorders (osteoarthritis,
rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, the
spondylarthropathies, systemic lupus erythematosus,
scleroderma, polymyalgia rheumatica/giant cell arteritis,
gout, fibromyalgia, and low back pain).
METHODS: The National
Arthritis Data Workgroup reviewed data from available surveys,
such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
series. For overall national estimates, we used surveys based
on representative samples. Because data based on national
population samples are unavailable for most specific
musculoskeletal conditions, we derived data from various
smaller survey samples from defined populations. Prevalence
estimates from these surveys were linked to 1990 US Bureau of
the Census population data to calculate national estimates. We
also estimated the expected frequency of arthritis in the year
RESULTS: Current national estimates are provided, with
important caveats regarding their interpretation, for
self-reported arthritis and selected conditions. An estimated
15% (40 million) of Americans had some form of arthritis in
1995. By the year 2020, an estimated 18.2% (59.4 million) will
be affected.
CONCLUSION: Given the limitations of the data on
which they are based, this report provides the best available
prevalence estimates for arthritis and other rheumatic
conditions overall, and for selected musculoskeletal
disorders, in the US population.

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