Barbour KE, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6519a2.

June 20, 2016
2 min read

CDC reports rise in doctor-diagnosed arthritis in US


Barbour KE, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6519a2.

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New data from the CDC showed a rise in the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis among states and counties in the United States, with nearly one in four adults diagnosed with arthritis.

“When we looked at the state level and we looked at the county level data, we found that … the lowest county in terms of arthritis prevalence was 15% in the U.S.,” Kamil E. Barbour, PhD, epidemiologist of the arthritis program in the division of population health at the National Center for Chronic Disease, told “In addition to [arthritis] being highly prevalent all over the U.S., it varied a lot as well.”

Kamil E. Barbour


Barbour and colleagues analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to estimate the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis among adults at the state and county levels.

Results showed an age-standardized median prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis of 24% for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and age-standardized model-predicted prevalence estimates ranging from 15.8% to 38.6% by county.

Researchers found a range of doctor-diagnosed arthritis in states and territories from 18.8% in Hawaii to 35.5% in West Virginia. An age-standardized prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis of 20% or greater was noted in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Guam in 2014, whereas four states had an age-standardized prevalence of arthritis of 30% or greater, according to results. Counties in the highest quintiles of age-standardized model-predicted arthritis prevalence included those along the Appalachian Mountains, the Mississippi River and the Ohio River, as well as in the majority of counties in Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia, researchers noted.

William F. Harvey


According to William F. Harvey, MD, MSc, clinical director of the Arthritis Treatment Center at Tufts Medical Center, expensive biologic therapies used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and gout have a financial effect on the health care system. He noted funding to track the prevalence of arthritis in the United States will continue to identify the effect arthritis has on the health care system.

“Without the CDCs efforts … we would have little insight into what the trends are in this country, and it is something that we desperately need, not only for physicians and medicine in general to be able to prepare to care for patients in the future, but for our society to understand what are the diseases [that] are most heavily going to impact the health care system, arthritis being one of them,” Harvey told – by Casey Tingle

Disclosure: Barbour and Harvey report no relevant financial disclosures.