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America’s Arthritis Patients Take Sizeable Chunks Of Healthcare Econom

A new American study has showed that a particular group of its citizens; mainly those aged between 46 and 64 years, take the lion’s share of the arthritis// population, as well as its costs to economy.

Lead researcher of the study, Edward Yelin, professor of medicine and health at the University of California, San Francisco and his team state that those with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions have increased to more than 46 million, approximately 21 percent of the population, and treatment costs have now touched $80.8 billion.

The new figures are a significant increase over the nearly 37 million people who suffered from these conditions in 1997.

Says Louise Murphy, an Atlanta epidemiologist who worked on the report: “The $81 billion figure represents three percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Something must be done to turn these figures around.”

"An aging population isn't something that we can control, but you can try to make the population healthier. We really have to push public health programs that improve food consumption and the ability to exercise", says Yelin.

These figures were derived from the Medical Expenditures Panel Study, a national probability sample of households. The researchers recorded medical care costs for adult respondents as against arthritis status. They used regression techniques to assess the medical care expenditures attributable to arthritis and related rheumatic diseases, plus individual loss of income.

According to the researchers, this is not the end of the story. The number of persons with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions is projected to increase steadily to nearly 67 million by 2030, and that means the economic impact is likely to parallel this.

The study also reported that the jump in the number of arthritis sufferers meant that raw earnings losses due to arthritis among working adults (ages 18-65) increased by $9 billion from 1997 to 2
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