Arthritis is a disease that consists in the inflammation of one ore more joints of the body, inflammation which generally occurs symmetrically. Up to this moment, medical research in this field has identified around 100 different types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis and septic arthritis are just a few of the most frequent types of arthritis experienced by patients worldwide. But just how frequent are these types of arthritis in certain demographics, and how big is the risk to develop it?
Out of all the previously mentioned types of arthritis, the most frequent surely are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia. In the United States of America alone, there are 27 million adults that suffer from osteoarthritis. Other types of arthritis have considerably lower frequency rates, with an estimate 5 million cases of fibromyalgia, 3 million cases of gout and 1.5 cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, it is safe to affirm that osteoarthritis is definitely at the top of the arthritis charts.
Osteoarthritis is unmistakably the most widely encountered type of arthritis. One out of two people will generally experience knee osteoarthritis before the age of 85, while one out of for people below the age of 85 will experience arthritis in the hip. Obesity is also a big risk factor. Two out of three people that suffer from obesity will most likely develop knee osteoarthritis at some point in their lives.
As for the demographic data regarding the prevalence of arthritis, it is generally more frequent among older women. Twenty-six percent of women will experience arthritis at some point in their lifetime, while only nineteen percent of men will face this issue. In the 18-44 age group, arthritis is not that widely encountered, the statistics indicating its development during these years only in seven percent of cases. As people grow in age, so does the risk of arthritis, with a whooping fifty percent occurrence rate in the case of people that are 65 or older. Juvenile arthritis is not as frequent, but it can occur in 1 of 250 cases.
Statistics seem to indicate that there is also an ethnic element that influences the prevalence of arthritis, with Blacks and Hispanics being more affected by it. In the United States alone, there are 4.6 million African American adults that have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, and 2.9 million Hispanic adults in the same condition. The reasons for this are not very clear yet, because there is still a lot of research that needs to be conducted regarding arthritis and its causes.
If you are a member of these demographics that seem to experience higher arthritis risk, and you notice any symptoms such as inflammation, swelling and pain at the level of one or more joints, go see the nearest rheumatologist or orthopaedist immediately. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are your best bet in treating arthritis successfully. And even if you are not statistically likely to develop arthritis, checking in with your doctor once in a while won’t hurt, especially as you grow older.