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Rheumatic Diseases Afflict 1 in 12 Women, 1 in 20 Men

Researchers estimate lifetime risk of developing inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic disease

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- About 8 percent of women and 5 percent of men will develop an inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during their lifetime, according to research published online Dec. 28 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Cynthia S. Crowson, of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues estimated sex-specific lifetime risk of rheumatic disease based on incidence and mortality rate data obtained from population-based studies of rheumatic diseases among Olmsted County, Minn. residents and life tables from the general population, respectively.

In U.S. adults, the researchers determined the lifetime risk for developing RA or rheumatoid factor positive RA to be 3.6 and 2.4 percent, respectively, in women and 1.7 and 1.1 percent, respectively, in men. Polymyalgia rheumatica was the second most common inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic disease, with a lifetime risk of 2.4 and 1.7 percent for women and men, respectively. The researchers determined the overall lifetime risk of inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic disease to be 8.4 percent in women and 5.1 percent in men.

"One in 12 women and one in 20 men will develop inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic disease during their lifetime. These results can serve as useful guides in counseling patients regarding their lifetime risk of these conditions and have important implications for disease awareness campaigns," the authors write.

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