Prevalence of arthritis in India and Pakistan: A review

Ehtisham Akhter, Saira Bilal, Uzma J Haque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent studies of rheumatoid arthritis worldwide suggest that prevalence of arthritis is higher in Europe and North America than in developing countries. Prevalence data for major arthritis disorders have been compiled in West for several decades, but figures from the third world are just emerging. A coordinated effort by WHO and ILAR (International League Against Rheumatism) has resulted in collecting data for countries like Philippines, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and rural South Africa but the information about prevalence of arthritis in India and Pakistan is scarce. Since both countries, i.e., India and Pakistan, share some ethnic identity, we reviewed published literature to examine the prevalence of arthritis in these countries. Medline and Pubmed were searched for suitable articles about arthritis from 1980 and onwards. Findings from these articles were reviewed and summarized. The prevalence, clinical features, and laboratory findings of rheumatoid arthritis are compiled for both India and Pakistan. Data collected from these two countries were compared with each other, and some of the characteristics of the disease were compared with Europe and North America. It is found to be quite similar to developed countries. Additionally, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is of different variety than reported in West. It is more of polyarticular onset type while in West pauciarticular predominates. Additionally, in systemic onset, JRA uveitis and ANA are common finding in developed countries; on the other hand, they are hardly seen in this region. Although the prevalence of arthritis in Pakistan and India is similar to Western countries, there are inherent differences (clinical features, laboratory findings) in the presentation of disease. The major strength of the study is that it is the first to pool reports to provide an estimate of the disease in the Indian subcontinent. Scarcity of data is one of the major limitations. This study helps to understand the pattern of disease in this part of country that can be stepping-stone for policy makers to draft policies that can affect target population more appropriately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-855
Number of pages7
JournalRheumatology International
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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Keywords

  • Arthritis
  • India
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pakistan
  • Prevalence
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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