How Common Are the Types of Arthritis?

Arthritis is a general term that describes more than 100 types of joint conditions. Some of the symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and swelling, stiffness and reduced range of motion. Arthritis is the number one cause of disability among American adults. There are several things that may cause arthritis including, but not limited to, family history, wear and tear on the joints, injury, obesity, and age.

While there are over 100 types of arthritis, some of the most common types are osteoarthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. So, how common are the types of arthritis?

Answer: In the United States, approximately 53 million adults are affected by arthritis and 300,000 children.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis affecting over 30 million adults in the United States. This type of arthritis is caused by the deterioration of joint cartilage between the bones. As a result, bones rub together to cause swelling and pain.

Gout occurs in about 8 million American adults, with 6 million being men. It occurs with other forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Gout brings on sudden pain that can be severe. This is caused by uric acid deposits in joint tissue. Another common type of arthritis, fibromyalgia, affects about 4 million American adults which accounts for 2% of the adult population in the U.S. The majority of cases are women between 40 – 75 years old. This condition can cause pain all over the body in addition to sleeping and mental issues.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.5 million adults, and three times the number of women have the disease compared to men. Classified as an autoimmune disease, with rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks healthy cells which cause inflammation. Lastly, Lupus is another autoimmune disease that affects about 1.5 million people in the U.S. While lupus can affect anyone regardless of gender or age, women between the ages of 15 – 45 make up about 90% of cases. Lupus not only affects joints, but can also affect the kidneys, skin, brain, and other organs.

Additional Resources

While this article provided a brief overview of some common types of arthritis, there is a substantial amount of documented information available. Some recommended resources are:

  1. Arthritis Foundation – A leading nonprofit organization that provides arthritis resources and information. The foundation also serves as a legislative advocate at the state and federal levels. In addition to connecting people with resources and care through innovative online tools, the Arthritis Foundation also leads and funds scientific research in the field of arthritis.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)– The CDC is a federal government agency within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The CDC conducts scientific research and provides Americans with resources and information on various diseases and conditions, including arthritis. Specifically, the CDC provides data on arthritis statistics including causes, symptoms, and treatment.
  3. Mayo Clinic – Is a leading non-for-profit research medical institute. Patients are usually able to get all the care they need at the Mayo Clinic without having to go to outside providers. Consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the U.S. the revenue the hospital earns is reinvested into medical research, care and education.

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