Send to

Choose Destination
J Rheumatol. 2004 Sep;31(9):1823-8.

Deaths from arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, United States, 1979-1998.

Author information

Arthritis Program, Health Care and Aging Studies Branch, Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



To analyze US trends in deaths from arthritis and other rheumatic conditions (AORC).


Multiple cause of death tapes from the National Center for Health Statistics from 1979 to 1998 were reviewed. Age, sex, and race-specific death rates were calculated.


During 1979-1998, the annual number of AORC deaths rose from 5537 to 9367. In 1979, the crude death rate from AORC was 2.46 per 100,000 population; by 1998, it was 3.48. Rates age-standardized to the year 2000 population were 2.75 and 3.51, respectively. Annual crude and age-standardized death rates were higher among women than men and higher among blacks than whites and increased for all groups over the 20 years. Death rates were dramatically higher with increasing age. Three categories of AORC accounted for almost 80% of deaths: diffuse connective tissue diseases (34%), other specified rheumatic conditions (23%), and rheumatoid arthritis (22%).


There are marked age, sex, and race-specific disparities in AORC death rates. AORC death rates may be underestimated because of (1) nonrecognition of inflammatory arthritis and (2) attribution of cause of death to conditions made more likely by arthritis, e.g., cardiovascular disease, or to complications from arthritis therapy. Further research into the causes of the disparities in death rates and the increase in death rates for men, women, blacks, and whites is necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center