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      Arthritis prevalence and associations in American Indian and Alaska native people


      OBJECTIVE: To investigate the prevalence of arthritis and associations with arthritis in American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

      METHODS: Data on self-reported, doctor-diagnosed arthritis from the baseline visit of 9,968 American Indian and Alaska Native adults from Alaska and the Southwest US were included. The prevalence of arthritis and univariate and multivariate associations between arthritis and demographic characteristics, health-related factors, and treatment are described.

      RESULTS: The prevalence of self-reported arthritis increased with age. The age-sex adjusted prevalence was high in Alaska (26.1%) and low in the Southwest US (16.5%) as compared with the US population (21.5%). In both centers, arthritis was associated with age, lack of employment, chronic medical conditions, and poorer self-reported overall health. Arthritis was associated with female sex in Alaska only, whereas education, marital status, and urban residency were associated with arthritis in the Southwest US. In both centers, self-reported physical health measured by the Short Form 12 Health Survey was lower in people with arthritis, and mental health was not associated with arthritis. More frequent use of antiinflammatory medications was reported with arthritis in both centers, but increased use of traditional medicine and healers were associated with arthritis only in Alaska.

      CONCLUSION: Compared with US rates, the prevalence of self-reported arthritis was higher among Alaska Native people and lower in a Southwest American Indian population. Some factors associated with arthritis differ between the 2 populations.

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