Pediatric Arthritis: Prevalent and Burden in the U.S.



I already said that arthritis does not happen in adults alone. Young people can get arthritis as well.

In fact, an estimated 294,000 U.S. children and teenagers under age 18 (or one in 250 children) have been diagnosed with arthritis or another rheumatologic condition.

Such were the data uncovered by a study published in the December issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the said study provides (for the first time!) a more accurate estimate of the number of children diagnosed with arthritis and related conditions across the U.S. and within each state – thereby creating a benchmark against which to measure future changes in prevalence rates.

A provision of the proposed Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act introduced in 2004 called for a better determination of the size of the childhood arthritis problem. As a result, the CDC, in collaboration with several other organizations, began an intensive review of options on how to estimate the number of children with arthritis and related conditions, as well as what conditions should be included in such a count.

In addition to providing these improved national estimates, the study also provides estimates for each state. “The CDC’s first-ever estimates of childhood arthritis- related diagnoses show a state-by-state range from a low of 500 children in Wyoming to a high of 38,000 children in California,” said Jeffrey Sacks, M.D., M.P.H., Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service at the CDC.

Study data also show that children diagnosed with arthritis and other rheumatologic conditions account for approximately 827,000 doctor visits each year, including an average of 83,000 emergency department visits.

Honestly I am surprised that this hasn’t been done before, considering that it’s the U.S. But then they might have not paid attention to pediatric arthritis because of the “notion” that arthritis is an age-related condition.

According to Patience White, M.D., Arthritis Foundation chief public health officer and a pediatric rheumatologist:

“This study finds that one in 250 children have been diagnosed with arthritis or related conditions. Due to the lack of availability of pediatric rheumatologists trained in the diagnosis and care of children with arthritis, we know that many children with inflammatory forms of arthritis are not diagnosed early enough to prevent disability.

New treatments are now available for children with inflammatory arthritis that decrease disability thus making early diagnosis essential. We know that 11 states do not have a practicing pediatric rheumatologist.

The need for more pediatric rheumatologists is critical for families and children with arthritis. Passage of the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act is necessary as it would encourage more physicians to enter the field and also would highlight the research needs for children with arthritis.”

Find more details from PR Newswire.

Furthermore, the Arthritis Foundation has a resource brochure for families affected by pediatric arthritis – the “Arthritis in Children” brochure which includes the latest information on treatments and self-management techniques.

To get a free copy of this brochure, contact the Arthritis Foundation at 1-800-283-7800 or visit the Arthritis Foundation website.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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