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US Arthritis Prevalence Much Higher than Current Estimates, says Study

Arthritis PrevalenceA chronic joint disorder, arthritis causes inflammation of one or more joints. Joint pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, swelling, and redness are the most common symptoms of the condition, which typically worsens with age. If left untreated, this condition can lead to joint damage, loss of mobility and function, and serious medical conditions. Effective treatment helps minimize symptoms and improve joint function. At established multi-specialty healthcare centers in Brooklyn, NYC pain management doctors use various nonsurgical modalities to treat the condition. These include physical therapy, medications, injections, chiropractic care and exercise. A new study reveals that the prevalence of arthritis in the United States is much higher than current estimates, particularly among adults younger than 65 years old. The study results were published in the Journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

On analyzing the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine found that arthritis affects a much higher percentage of the US adult population and at a younger age than previously thought. Out of a total of 33,672 participants, about 19.3 percent of men and 16.7 percent of women aged between 18-64 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.

The study found that arthritis prevalence was 29.9% in men aged 18-64 years 31.2% in women aged 18-64 years, 55.8% in men aged 65 years and older, and 68.7% in women aged 65 years and older. The researchers say that “the higher prevalence can be largely attributed to the previous underestimate of arthritis in adults between 18-64 years of age”. They found that about 91.2 million adults in the US had arthritis in 2015 when compared to a previously reported national estimate of 54.4 million adults. Of these, 61.1 million were between 18 and 64 years of age.

The study findings are important because of underestimated yet huge impact of arthritis (including healthcare costs) in adults younger than 65 years of age. Studies have found rising rates of surgeries such as total knee replacement surgery that outpaced obesity rates, especially in people younger than 65 years of age, note the researchers. They concluded that the current arthritis surveillance methods, which have been used since 2002, should be revised to correct for inherent limitations of the survey methods and to increase accuracy.

The study indicates the need to better monitor arthritis prevalence in the US population and to develop better prevention strategies. Early and effective pain management is important to address acute and chronic pain. Treatment at a reliable healthcare center can limit joint damage and help patients avoid the need for surgery.

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