Important Facts for Arthritis Prevalence
DefinitionArthritis includes over 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues which surround the joint and other connective tissue. Common forms include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and gout. Arthritis symptoms typically include pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints. Certain rheumatic conditions can also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body. Although arthritis is more commonly seen in older adults, working age adults can also be affected.
NumeratorNumber of adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System who have been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health professional that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.
DenominatorNumber of adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Data Interpretation IssuesThese data are from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing survey of adults regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Data are collected in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The survey is conducted using scientific telephone survey methods for landline and cellular phones (landline only from 1986 through 2010; landline and cellular since 2011). The landline phone portion of the survey excludes adults living in group quarters such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, and prisons. The cellular phone portion of the survey includes adult students living in college dormitories but excludes other group quarters.
Beginning with 2011, the BRFSS updated its surveillance methods by adding in calls to cell phones and changing its weighting methods. These changes improve BRFSS' ability to take into account the increasing proportion of U.S. adults using only cellular telephones as well as to adjust survey data to improve the representativeness of the estimates generated from the survey. Results have been adjusted for the probability of selection of the respondent, and have been weighted to the adult population by age, gender, phone type, detailed race/ethnicity, renter/owner, education, marital status, and geographic area. Lastly and importantly, these changes mean that the data from years prior to 2011 are not directly comparable to data from 2011 and beyond.
The "missing" and "dont know" responses are removed before calculating a percentage. When the data shown are about a specific sub-population, only respondents of that sub-population are included in the denominator.