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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003 May 30;52(21):489-91.

Public health and aging: projected prevalence of self-reported arthritis or chronic joint symptoms among persons aged >65 years--United States, 2005-2030.


Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are among the most common chronic diseases, affecting 70 million U.S. adults in 2001, and comprise the leading cause of disability among U.S. adults. Arthritis prevalence increases with age, affecting approximately 60% of the U.S. population aged >/= 65 years. As a result of better identification and treatment of other chronic diseases and lower mortality from infectious diseases, U.S. adults are living longer, and the U.S. population is aging. For this reason, the number of persons living with nonfatal but disabling conditions such as arthritis or chronic joint symptoms (CJS) might be increasing. To estimate the projected future burden of arthritis or CJS among persons aged >/= 65 years, CDC applied data from the 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to projected national population data for 2005-2030 and state population data for 2025. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicate that if arthritis prevalence rates remain stable, the number of affected persons aged >/= 65 years will nearly double by 2030. Proven public health interventions should be applied and new interventions developed to improve function, decrease pain, and delay disability among persons with arthritis, particularly those at highest risk for functional impairment and disability.

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