It’s not exactly news that the number of adults and children with rheumatologic disease in the US far outflanks the number of rheumatologists available to treat them. The American College of Rheumatology’s 2015 Workforce Study took a deep dive into the rheumatology workforce, which it deemed essential to meet the challenges facing the profession and to provide adequate care for patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.
A key finding? To paraphrase Winston Churchill, rarely have so few been called upon by so many.
And the ratio of patients to rheumatologists is expected to grow even more lopsided in the next couple of decades, for a variety of reasons—among them an aging population ages and rising incidence of obesity.
This slideshow offers a quick overview of some recent statistics from the CDC and key findings in the ACR’s report.
1. Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Boring M, Brady TJ. Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2013–2015. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:246–253. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6609e1.
2. Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, et al. Updated projected prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation among US adults, 2015-2040. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016;68(7):1582-7. doi: 10.1002/art.39692. PubMed PMID: 27015600.