Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA, OA, Gout Incidence on the Rise Globally

The age-standardized incident rate of low back pain and neck pain have decreased overall from 1990 to 2017, while the incidence of osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and gout have increased, primarily in regions with higher sociodemographic identifiers, a team of researchers has found.

The researchers pulled data from the Global Burden of Disease 2017 study to identify the trends of increase and decrease in these specific musculoskeletal diseases at global, regional and national levels and to estimate the total burden of these diseases.

They found that while the age-standardized incident rate for musculoskeletal disorders had been decreasing by 0.18% annually during the study period, total cases of musculoskeletal diseases rose from almost 212 million cases in 1990 to nearly 335 million by 2017—a total increase of 58%.

The most significant increases occurred in cases of OA, RA, and gout and in high to middle sociodemographic regions. During the same period, the age-standardized incident rate for neck pain remained stable, while that of low back pain had decreased.

“It appears women have shown a higher increase in [estimated annual percentage rate] than men for RA (1.3 times) and gout (1.6 times),” the researchers wrote. “The absolute EAPC was strikingly high in high or high-middle sociodemographic index (SDI) regions for overall, [low back pain], and gout, and in low SDI regions for [neck pain].”

—Rebecca Mashaw


Jin Z, Wang D, Zhang H, et al. Incidence trend of five common musculoskeletal disorders from 1990 to 2017 at the global, regional and national level: results from the global burden of disease study 2017. Ann Rheum Dis. 2020;79(8):1014-1022.