Data Trends 2022: Rheumatologic Diseases

Arthritis, and in particular posttraumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA), is more common in the veteran population compared with civilians, largely due to the physical toll of active-duty service.1,2 Certain exposure-related factors have been linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, while the burdens of health care costs and comorbidities have been proven to be elevated in veterans with psoriatic arthritis.3,4


  • Who is affected by arthritis? Veterans vs civilians1

  • A 2021 study of 3 million veterans looked at the link between frailty and risk of cardiovascular death. Within this population, a stable but higher prevalence of arthritis was found along with a small trend upwards in related comorbidities. Frailty was defined based on a 31-item index assessing physical function, comorbidities, sensory loss, cognition, and mood.6

  • A survey of patients in the Veterans Association Rheumatoid Arthritis Registry sought to determine whether there was any association between inhalant exposures, rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-related autoantibodies, and disease severity. Exposure to military burn pits and military waste disposal were each associated with higher odds of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies compared with other inhalant exposures.3

  • For patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis (PsO) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA), the likelihood of significant comorbidity diagnoses—such as cancer, diabetes, and liver disease—exists.11



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