Osteoarthritis: A Troubling Picture
Osteoarthritis is just one of the many forms of arthritis, and more than half of the 50 million people with arthritis have OA. Here are some quick facts that capture the scope, impact and burden of OA and arthritis, in general.
OA is on the rise. Currently, more than 27 million adults have OA,2 a number expected to increase dramatically as the 78.2 million Baby Boomers age.3 It is estimated that two-thirds of obese adults will develop knee OA at some point in their life, so rates of OA4 will increase with the obesity epidemic.
OA disproportionately affects women and minorities. More women than men have OA, particularly after age 50. Documented disparities include significantly greater adverse effects (activity limitation, work limitation, and severe pain) due to OA among Black compared to non Hispanic white populations, despite equivalent OA prevalence between the two groups. Of increased concern, African Americans receive 39% fewer total knee replacements than whites5 despite similar levels of severe OA.
OA severely limits productivity. Approximately 30% of adults age 18 to 64 with doctor-diagnosed arthritis report an arthritis-attributable work limitation,6 including working less or not working at all. Much of this is due to OA.
OA limits physical activity and complicates management of other chronic diseases. More than half of all adults with diabetes or heart disease also have arthritis. OA pain, or fear of pain, causes many people to be sedentary, even though physical activity is an important management strategy for OA and these other chronic illnesses.
OA escalates health care costs for individuals, employers, and payers. In 2004, OA resulted in over 11 million physician and outpatient visits, 662,000 hospitalizations and more than 632,000 total joint replacements, with accompanying medical costs of $22.6 billion.7
- Arthritis Foundation: A Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis 2010.
- U.S. Department of Commerce. Facts for features – January 3, 2006 http://www.census.gov.
- Murphy L, Schwartz TA, Helmick CG, Renner JB, Tudor G, Koch G, et al. Lifetime risk of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism 2008:59(9):1207-1213.
- Cisternas MG, Murphy L, Croft JB, Helmick CG. Racial disparities in total knee replacement among Medicare enrollees–United States 2000-2006. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2009;58(6):133-138.
- Theis KA, Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Yelin E. Prevalence and correlates of arthritis-attributable work limitation in the US population among persons ages 18-64: 2002 National Health Interview Survey Data. Arthritis Care & Research 2007;57(3):355-363.
- United States Bone and Joint Decade. The burden of musculoskeletal diseases in the United States. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 2008.
Interested in learning more about why you should join the OA Action Alliance? Learn the benefits of becoming a member.
The Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA) is an independent organization and references made by the OAAA or on this website to any specific commercial or non-commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by any of the individual OAAA member organizations.