Changes in Its Prevalence during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
This chapter compares the prevalence of arthritis among Union Army veterans with arthritis among men. It shows that the current prevalence rate of arthritis is lower than it was in the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. The average age of onset of arthritis is eleven years later, and the proportion of men who ever get arthritis is substantially lower than it used to be. In addition, the age-specific and the birth-cohort longitudinal increase in prevalence rates of arthritis is less in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys than in the Union Army. Additionally, the survey data demonstrated that older people had a greater probability of having arthritis—that age increases the probability of getting the disease at a decreasing rate—and that, historically, older men had a worse health status than they have today.
Keywords: arthritis, Union Army veterans, prevalence rates, Nutrition Examination Surveys, older men, age, health