|EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
May 5, 1998
9:00 AM Eastern Time
||Connie Raab or|
Arthritis Prevalence Rising as Baby Boomers Grow
Osteoarthritis Second Only to Chronic Heart Disease in Worksite
- Although low back pain is a symptom, not a disorder,
estimates of its prevalence are included in the report because of its
pervasiveness. The authors estimate that about one-half of adults have low
back pain in any given year. Approximately 15 percent of U.S. adults report
frequent back pain or pain lasting more than 2 weeks annually. Overall, more
than 26 million Americans ages 20 to 64 and almost 6 million ages 65 and
older have frequent low back pain.
- Fibromyalgia prevalence rates were estimated at 3.7
million Americans ages 18 and older. Prevalence is much lower in men than in
women. A chronic condition, fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread
pain, greater sensitivity to pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and multiple
tender points. The authors note that the fibromyalgia data are extrapolated
from a study that may not reflect the prevalence of the United States as a
whole. "We recognize the importance of fibromyalgia and wanted to be able to
provide some estimate. Additional population-based studies are needed,"
- Approximately 1 percent of U.S. adults have definite rheumatoid
arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation (with
pain, stiffness, swelling, and deformity) in the joints. Rheumatoid
arthritis occurs more frequently in women than in men. The prevalence of
rheumatoid arthritis is approximately 2.1 million people: 600,000 men and
1.5 million women.
- Based on self-reported data from the 1992 National Health Interview
Survey by the NCHS, the authors estimate U.S. prevalence of
gout at 2.1 million people: 1.56 million men and 550,000
women. They note that these figures may be an overestimate. Gout is a
painful rheumatic disorder that occurs when uric acid builds up in the body
and accumulates as needle-like crystals in the joints.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica, a disorder involving moderate
to severe muscle pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulder, and hip area, is
estimated to be prevalent in 450,000 Americans. An estimated 110,000 have
the closely related disorder giant cell arteritis, which is characterized by
inflammation of blood vessels, which reduces blood flow, usually in the
head, neck, and arms.
- The authors estimate that between 354,000 and 412,000 Americans ages 15
and older have some form of spondylarthropathies, a family
of musculoskeletal disorders that includes ankylosing spondylitis (spinal
arthritis) and psoriatic arthritis (a form of arthritis that occurs with the
skin disease psoriasis). The authors consider these estimates conservative.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) is an
autoimmune disease in which the body harms its own tissues and can lead to
inflammation and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood
vessels, and the brain. The report estimates SLE to affect at least 239,000
Americans: 4,000 white males, 41,000 white females, 31,000 black males, and
163,000 black females. Once a disease with high mortality, SLE is now a
chronic disease. In 1954, survival was 50 percent after 4 years; today it is
97 percent at 5 years and 90 percent at 10 years. SLE is an area for which
the authors recognize the uncertainty of the available data and call for the
collection of more recent data.
- The estimated U.S. prevalence of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
(JRA), which occurs in children ages 16 and younger, is between
30,000 and 50,000. Active cases may constitute only one-half of this number,
according to the report. These numbers are specific to JRA and do not
include other forms of arthritis in children. These estimates are lower than
earlier reported figures, which were based on small population studies that
do not represent the diversity of the U.S. population.
- Very few data exist to enable reliable estimates of the prevalence of
scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that causes hardening of
the skin and, sometimes, internal organs. Estimates of the prevalence of
scleroderma vary markedly. The prevalence is clearly higher in women than in
men, with the highest rates occurring in middle-aged women.
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. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and selected musculoskeletal
disorders in the United States. Arthritis Rheum 1998;41:778-99.
CDC. Prevalence and impact of arthritis by race and ethnicity - United
States, 1989-1991. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1996;45:373-8.
National Arthritis Data Workgroup. Arthritis prevalence and activity
limitation -- United States, 1990. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1994;43:433-8.
Lawrence RC, Hochberg MC, Kelsey JL, McDuffie FC, Medsger TAJr, Felts WR,
Shulman LE. Estimates of the prevalence of selected arthritis and
musculoskeletal diseases in the United States. J Rheumatol 1989;16:427-41.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin
Diseases, a component of the National Institutes of Health, leads the Federal
medical research effort in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, and in
musculoskeletal and skin diseases. The NIAMS supports research and training
throughout the United States as well as on the NIH campus in Bethesda,
Maryland, and disseminates health and research information. Press contact:
Connie Raab/Ray Fleming (301) 496-8190.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the agency of the Federal
Government charged with promoting health and quality of life by preventing and
controlling disease, injury, and disability. Press contact: CDC Office of
Communications (404) 639-3286.
The Arthritis Foundation is the national voluntary health organization
devoted to arthritis. Its mission is to support research to find the cure for
and prevention of arthritis and to improve the quality of life for those
affected by arthritis. Press contact: Carol Galbreath (404) 872-7100 x6365.
The American College of Rheumatology is an organization of physicians,
health professionals, and scientists that provides education, research, and
advocacy to foster excellence in the care of people with arthritis and
rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Press contact: Kelly Sheehan (404)