Rheumatoid arthritis rising among women

October 27th, 2008 - 2:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 27 (IANS) After lying dormant for four decades, rheumatoid arthritis has resurfaced among women in the US. “More research needs to be done to better understand the causes and treatment of this devastating disease,” said Sherine Gabriel, Mayo Clinic rheumatologist and lead investigator of the study.

From 1955 to 1994, its incidence had continually been on the decline, but changed in mid-nineties. When Mayo researchers analysed patient data from early 1995 to early 2005, they found that both the incidence and prevalence (percentage) of the condition were rising.

Compared to the previous decade when approximately 36 women out of every 100,000 developed rheumatoid arthritis every year, the new study showed a jump to 54 women in the more recent decade.

The incidence for men remained at about 29 per 100,000. Overall, the percentage of the entire population with the condition rose from 0.85 percent to 0.95 percent.

Researchers say it’s not clear why this is happening, but an environmental factor may have a role in the shifting incidence and prevalence among women, according to Mayo Clinic release.

The study included 350 adult patients from Olmsted County, MN, whose average age was 56.5 years. The majority, 69 percent, were women.

These findings were presented by Mayo Clinic investigators at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals in San Francisco.

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