STATUS > HEALTH INDICATORS
Arthritis, the leading cause of disability among Americans
over 15 years of age, encompasses 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 as the cartilage covering
the ends of joint bones deteriorates. Other arthritis types are
rheumatoid arthritis, lupus arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia.
In 2003, 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 with age for both sexes.
Less than 10 percent of women 18 to 44 years of age had been diagnosed
with arthritis, compared to over 55 percent of women 75 years and
Rates of arthritis among women varied by race and ethnicity. It
was most common among non-Hispanic White women, followed by non-Hispanic
Black women; Asian women had the lowest rates of arthritis. The
high rate among non-Hispanic White women may be due to the older
age distribution of this population.
1Arthritis Foundation. The facts about arthritis.