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Arthritis, the leading cause of disability among
Americans over 15 years of age, comprises more than 100 different
diseases that affect areas in or around the joints.1
The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative
joint disease that causes pain and loss of movement due to deterioration
in the cartilage covering the ends of bones in the joints. Other
types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus arthritis,
gout, and fibromyalgia.
In 2004, over 20 percent of U.S. adults reported
that they had ever been diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis was
more common in women than men, and rates of arthritis increased
dramatically with age for both sexes. Less than 10 percent of women
18 to 44 years of age had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared
to 60 percent of women 75 years and older.
Rates of arthritis among women varied by race
and ethnicity. It was most common among non-Hispanic White women
(279.4 per 1,000 women), followed by non-Hispanic Black women (225.2
per 1,000); Asian women had the lowest rates of arthritis (128.2
per 1,000). The high rate among non-Hispanic White women may be
due to the older age distribution of this population.
1 Arthritis Foundation. The facts about arthritis.