Facts About Women and Arthritis

  • Arthritis is the most prevalent chronic health problem in the U.S. It costs the economy $65 billion each year in medical care and lost wages.
  • Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the leading causes of work limitations among women. As a group, women with rheumatoid arthritis-like symptoms lose an estimated $8.9 billion in earnings annually. Those with advanced disease experience severe income loss — only about half of their expected income had they not had arthritis.
  • Hospitalization rates of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are twice the national rate. And outpatient medical care costs for those with rheumatoid arthritis are three times higher than for others of the same age and sex.
  • Patients with rheumatoid arthritis make 7.8 visits to their physician each year — more than twice the national average for the total population.
  • Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are associated with premature deaths from infections, cardiovascular disease, renal failure and complications from drug treatment.
  • Lupus has been associated with miscarriage and spontaneous abortion.
  • More people have lupus than AIDS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, sickle-cell anemia and cystic fibrosis — combined.

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