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Arthritis is recognized as one of the prominent causes of disability in the United States. As per reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in every 5 American adults, i.e. 50 million people, have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. It is estimated that this number will increase to at least 67% by the end of 2030. This condition affects the musculoskeletal system causing inflammation of one or more joints.It is regarded as the main cause of disability among people above 55 years of age.

The most common signs and symptoms associated with arthritis are acute joint pain and stiffness which may typically worsen with age. The types of symptoms and the intensity of pain may vary as per age and the type of arthritis a person has. Some of the main symptoms include acute pain, joint swelling, redness, stiffness and decreased range of motion. The potential risk factors associated with this joint disease include age, family history, sex, previous joint injury and lifestyle factors. The most common types of this disease include rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Need for Early Diagnosis

Early diagnosis is essential for better treatment thereby preventing disability. However, it is difficult to identify the symptoms early as many of the symptoms match that of other diseases. Even though there is no single blood test or other tests to verify the diagnosis, physicians make a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation of the symptoms by conducting tests such as blood fluid tests, X rays to determine the type of arthritis a person has. This helps them to better track the progress of the disease in the joints over time and suggest correct treatment modalities.

Physicians can bill for the various therapies they provide that are reimbursable. They should report accurate diagnostic and procedural codes to ensure correct reimbursement. For instance, if they are billing to report rheumatoid arthritis (RA) the following codes should be used –

Arthritis Affects More US Veterans – CDC Data

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one quarter of veterans surveyed reported having suffered arthritis, with a higher prevalence among veterans compared to non-veterans. The data results were published in the “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” (November 7, 2014 issue).

In order to find out the prevalence of health professional-diagnosed arthritis among veterans, CDC analyzed “Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System” telephone survey data from 2011, 2012, and 2013. The overall prevalence of this condition was reported as 25.6%, including 25.0% in men and 31.3% in women. Even though, the higher prevalence of this disease was found in women, the relative differences in prevalence between veterans and non veterans were higher for men than women. The other findings of the study include

Arthritis Diagnosis and Treatment

Researchers found that the high prevalence of arthritis along with the large number of persons affected signify the need to adopt unique strategies to reduce the adverse effects of the same. The study found that higher interventions such as adequate physical activity and self management education are required to improve the quality of life of persons having arthritis. These timely interventions could potentially improve their quality of life by reducing other adverse symptoms related to obesity, depression, heart disease and diabetes thereby leading to better pain management and overall health.