Many People Ignore Joint Pain

Published Online: Tuesday, July 1, 2003

A growing number of individuals with chronic joint pain do not seek medical attention.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that ~20% of the people who experience joint stiffness, swelling, and pain never visit a physician about the problems, despite available treatments. Because this ailment affects an estimated 47.5 million people, this means that nearly 10 million people are not receiving the treatment they could get. Results of the study conducted by CDC researchers were published in the May 9, 2003, issue of the CDC?s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from the 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone survey of 212,000 people across the country. Individuals were classified as having chronic joint symptoms if they responded yes as to whether they had experienced pain, aches, or swelling around the joint area in the past year and whether the symptoms persisted. The data showed that younger people, men, Hispanics, those who reported being in good health or not affected by their pain, and those with only a high school education or less were most likely to skip physician appointments.

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