Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one-third of U.S. adults with arthritis, 45 years and older, report having anxiety or depression. According to findings that appear today in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), anxiety is nearly twice as common as depression among people with arthritis, despite more clinical focus on the latter mental health condition.
In the U.S. 27 million individuals, 25 years of age and older, have doctor diagnosed osteoarthritis (OA) and 1.3 adults have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) according to prevalence data from the ACR. The CDC estimates that all forms of arthritis affect 50 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability nationwide. Previous studies have reported depression is common among those with chronic illnesses such as arthritis. However, experts suggest that anxiety is often under-recognized and under-treated, and until recently was overlooked as a potential risk factor for depression.
The present study, led by Dr. Louise Murphy with the Arthritis Program at the CDC in Atlanta, Ga., selected individuals who were previous responders to the CDC's Arthritis Conditions and Health Effects Survey-a representative population of U.S. adults 45 years or older with arthritis symptoms. Researchers identified 1,793 participants with doctor-diagnosed arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Anxiety and depression were assessed using the emotional wellbeing questions from the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales.