In spite of the frequency and severe pain often experienced with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, these illnesses account for only a small portion of hospital discharges. Visits to a physician’s office or alternative types of care account for the majority of health care related to AORC, with more than 100 million ambulatory visits in 2010. Among the 6.6 million hospital discharges for an AORC in 2011, age was a factor in increasing rates of hospitalization. Fewer than 1 in 100 persons ages 18 to 44 years had a hospital discharge with a diagnosis of an AORC, while 13 in 100 aged 75 years and older were discharged with an AORC diagnosis.
Osteoarthritis is the primary form of arthritis to affect older persons, and begins to show increasing rates for people in their 60s. By the age of 75 years, multiple forms of arthritis are often diagnosed and categorized as other rheumatic conditions. (Reference Table 9B.4.2 PDF CSV)
Age is not a factor in the length of hospital stay or mean charges with a diagnosis of an AORC. In general, the type of AORC is also not a factor in length of stay or charges, with the exception of a diagnosis of spondylarthropathy, which results in slightly higher mean hospital charges. Hospital charges are a rough estimate of hospital cost, and do not include doctor’s fees. (Reference Table 9B.4.2 PDF CSV)