medwireNews: Researchers report a global decline in death rates attributable to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but with “substantial disparities” between countries.
In an analysis of the World Health Organization mortality database, Aliasghar Kiadaliri (Lund University, Sweden) and study co-authors found that the number of deaths with RA as the underlying cause declined from 9281 in 1987 to 8428 in 2011, representing a 9.2% reduction.
And there was a 48.2% reduction in the global mean age-standardized RA mortality rate, from 7.1 per million person–years in 1987–1989 to 3.7 per million person–years in 2009–2011.
Mortality rates decreased by at least 25% over the study period in 21 countries with the biggest reduction occurring in Finland, whereas increases of 25% or more were seen in Israel, Croatia, and Slovenia.
Although there were “substantial between-country disparities in the magnitude and temporal trend of RA deaths,” the researchers note that these disparities decreased over time.
The team concludes in Arthritis & Rheumatology: “Population aging combined with [the observed] fall in RA mortality may lead to an increase in the economic burden of disease that should be taken into consideration in policy-making.”
By Claire Barnard
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