More People May Have Arthritis Than We Thought
Arthritis is significantly more prevalent in the United States than previously estimated, especially in adults 65 and under, according to research published in Arthritis & Rheumatology. Results of the study, conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, suggest a need to better monitor rates of arthritis and develop effective prevention strategies.
Current arthritis estimates are based on whether survey respondents have ever been told by a health care provider that they have arthritis. According to the researchers, these estimates do not take patient symptoms like joint pain and stiffness into consideration, which means they’re inaccurate and underestimate the true number of U.S. arthritis cases.
To better estimate how many people have arthritis, researchers developed a method that considers doctor-diagnosed arthritis, chronic joint symptoms, and symptom duration. Using this method, they found that arthritis prevalence is actually 68 percent higher than previously reported. Of 33,672 study participants, 19.3 percent of men and 16.7 percent of women between 18 and 64 reported joint symptoms but didn’t have a diagnosis of arthritis.