Self-Reported Arthritis and Mortality in Aged Males and Females

Alexander Kulminski, Duke University
Irina V Culminskaya, Duke University
Svetlana V. Ukraintseva, Duke University

We analyze the association between self-reported arthritis and mortality in the U.S. elderly disabled and non-disabled individuals using unique disability-focused data from the large-scale population-based National Long Term Care Survey. Males and females who reported arthritis/rheumatism have about 20% smaller risks of death than those who did not report those conditions. This inverse relationship is even more pronounced in disabled individuals. For females, this effect is age insensitive, while for males it is limited to ages below 85. Demographic and 19 major geriatric conditions have trivial effect on these risks supporting the view that a better survival of diseased individuals can be attributed to the effects of medical treatment. Given the widespread prevalence of arthritis/rheumatism and disability in elderly populations in the world and the increasing population of the elderly, these findings call for comprehensive analyzes of factors driving better survival and medical costs associated with extended lives.

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Presented in Session 125: International Insights about Health and Mortality