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Arthritis, which is characterized by inflammation of joints, is pain and debilitating disease. This article outlines 30 statistics and facts that everyone should know about arthritis and its subtypes.

Arthritis, a disease characterized by the inflammation of joints, is a painful and debilitating condition that leads to joint stiffness and pain. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in North America among adults. There are more than a 100 different subtypes of arthritis, the major groups of which include osteoarthritis, autoimmune and inflammatory arthritis, infectious arthritis and metabolic arthritis.

Arthritis affects patients of all ages, genders and ethnicities. Unfortunately, the true number of patients with arthritis is unknown as many patients don’t seek treatment until their symptoms become serious.

Did you know?

1. Worldwide, arthritis affects more than 350 million people.

2. From 2013 to 2015, approximately 54 million adults (22.7 percent) had a diagnosis of arthritis in the United States. However, the percentage varies significant state by state with only 17.2 percent of people in Hawaii having arthritis, compared to 33.6 percent in West Virginia.

3. Approximately 300,000 babies and children have arthritis or another rheumatic condition in the United States.

4. The number of patients that are expected to be diagnosed with arthritis by 2040 is 78 million in the United States.

5. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis (26 percent) compared to men (19 percent). This is particularly true for some types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis.

6. The prevalence of arthritis varies by age, and older people are more likely to have it. Consider, for instance, that 7.1 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 44 have arthritis, 29.3 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 have arthritis and 49.6 percent of people over the 65 have arthritis.

7. Prevalence also varies by race and ethnicity. In the United States, 4.4 million Hispanic adults have arthritis, 41.3 million Non-Hispanic whites have arthritis, 6.1 million Non-Hispanic blacks have arthritis and 1.5 million Non-Hispanic Asians have arthritis.

8. Prevalence also depends on body mass index as adults who are overweight or obese more often develop arthritis. While 16 percent of underweight or normal weight adults report having arthritis, almost 23 percent of overweight and 31 percent of obese adults in the United States have arthritis.

9. The prevalence of arthritis is also affected by the presence of other chronic conditions. Almost half, 49 percent, of adults with heart disease were found to have arthritis. Furthermore, 47 percent of adults with diabetes have arthritis.

Consequences of arthritis

10. Arthritis is the leading cause of work disability in adults in the United States.

11. Across all American states, one in 25 adults that are 18 to 64 years old have work limitations that they attribute to arthritis. Among patients with arthritis, at least one in four patients face work limitations. The prevalence of work limitations also varies depending on the state.

12. In 2015 in the United States, approximately 15 million adults reported having severe joint pain due to arthritis. The proportion of patients with with severe pain also varied by state with 20.3 percent of people in Utah having severe joint pain compared to 46 percent in Mississippi.

13. More than 23 million American adults find that arthritis limits their ability to conduct everyday activities.

14. Approximately 44 percent of American adults with a diagnosis of arthritis experience limitations in their activities.  

15. Adults with arthritis are 2.5 times more likely to suffer two or more falls and suffer due to a fall injury in the last year compared to adults that don’t have arthritis.

16. Approximately one in three adults in the United States with arthritis who are 45 years or older have anxiety or depression.

17. Arthritis and other joint diseases are one the five most expensive conditions among patients who are 18 years and older.

18. The overall cost of arthritis in 2013 in the United States was $304 billion. The medical costs associated with arthritis amounted to $140 billion, while the costs associated with lost wages added up to a shocking $164 billion.

Statistics for subtypes of arthritis

19. Approximately 30.8 million American adults have osteoarthritis.

20. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and the leading cause of disability in adults.

21. In athletes or young people, experiencing injury, certain occupations and obesity are the main risk factors that cause the development of osteoarthritis.

22. One in 12 women will develop inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic disease during their lifetime compared one in 20 men.

23. Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1.3 million adults in the United States (0.6 percent of the population)

24. Women are two to three times more likely to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis than men.

25. Infectious arthritis develops in about five people per 100,000 each year.

26. Infectious arthritis occurs more commonly in older people.

27. Metabolic arthritis, or gout, is the most common cause of inflammatory arthritis among adults in the United States.

28. 3.9 percent of adults, or 8.3 million people, have gout in the United States

29. Men are more much more like to develop gout. The prevalence of gout in men is three to six percent while it is one to two percent in women.

30. There is a greater prevalence of gout in patients with a higher weight. In the united states, the prevalence of gout in patients with a normal weight is one to two percent while it is up to seven percent in patients who are overweight or obese.

  • Barbour, Kamil E., et al. "Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation—United States, 2010–2012." MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 62.44 (2013): 869.
  • Barbour, Kamil E., et al. "Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation—United States, 2013–2015." MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 62.44 (2013): 869.
  • Jacobson, Denise L., et al. "Epidemiology and estimated population burden of selected autoimmune diseases in the United States." Clinical immunology and immunopathology 84.3 (1997): 223-243.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. "Racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence and impact of doctor-diagnosed arthritis--United States, 2002." MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 54.5 (2005): 119.
  • Alamanos, Yannis, and Alexandros A. Drosos. "Epidemiology of adult rheumatoid arthritis." Autoimmunity reviews 4.3 (2005): 130-136.
  • Photo courtesy of SteadyHealth.

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