arthritis facts

Arthritis Facts


Get to know arthritis by the numbers. You’ll be surprised. Arthritis is all around us, yet its impact on people, employers and the country is far greater, more serious and costly than most people realize.

Arthritis Prevalence

  • More than 50 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

That’s 1 in 5 people over age 18.

  • Almost 300,000 babies and children have arthritis or a rheumatic condition.

That’s 1 in 250 children.

  • Number of people expected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis by the year 2030: 67 million.

Arthritis Disability

Arthritis is the nation’s No. 1 cause of disability.

Economic Cost of Arthritis

Employment Impact

Working-age men and women (ages 18 to 64) with arthritis were less likely to be employed than those of the same age without arthritis.

One-third of working-age people with arthritis have limitations in their ability to work, the type of work they can do or whether they can work part time or full time.  

People with arthritis or a rheumatic condition lose more workdays every year due to illness or injury than adults with any other medical condition.

People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis –just two kinds of arthritis – miss a combined of 172 million workdays every year.

Economic Impact

Arthritis and other non-traumatic joint disorders are among the five most costly conditions among adults 18 and older.

Every year, people with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions give up potential income (called “lost wages”) due to injury or illness.

Arthritis and related conditions account for

  • $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses.

  • 44 million outpatient visits

  • Nearly 1 million hospitalizations

  • The nearly 300,000 children with juvenile arthritis and rheumatic conditions make an estimated 621,ooo  health care profession visits every year.


Among adults with arthritis, nearly half (47 percent) have at least one other disease or condition.

  • 57 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis.

  • 52 percent of adults with diabetes have arthritis.

  • 44 percent of adults with high blood pressure have arthritis.

  • 36 percent of adults who are obese have arthritis.

One-third of adults with arthritis age 45 and older have either anxiety or depression.

People who have arthritis and other chronic health condition have trouble getting enough physical activity to improve their health.

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is an important strategy for relieving pain and maintaining or improving function for people with arthritis.

Despite that, people with arthritis are less likely to be physically active than those with arthritis.

38 percent of adults with arthritis report no leisure-time aerobic activity (compared with about 27 percent of those without arthritis).

Life Impact

23 million people with arthritis are limited in their ability to do daily activities, such as standing, bending, walking and climbing stairs). 

All Ages, Races and Genders

People commonly think of arthritis as an old people’s problem. But arthritis is not a disease of old age.

  • Infants, as young as 1 year old, can get a potentially serious disease called systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

  • Two-thirds of people with arthritis are under age 65, including an estimated 300,000 children.

  • But the risk of arthritis does increase with age. Almost half of adults 65 years old or older have arthritis.

Doctor-diagnosed arthritis is more common in women (26 percent) than in men (18 percent). In some types, such as rheumatoid arthritis, women far outnumber men.

Arthritis has a greater impact on minorities. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and other minorities populations in the U.S. have lower rates of arthritis compared to white population. However, they experience greater severity of pain and more work and daily activity limitations than whites.

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