The lifetime risk of inflammatory autoimmune rheumatologic disease is substantial—1 in 12 for women and 1 in 20 for men, and the lifetime risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)—1 in 28 for women and 1 in 59 for men—is higher than previously thought. However, the risks are smaller than those for diseases considered to be common.
Crowson and associates reviewed population-based data from 1179 patients with RA and smaller numbers of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), giant cell arteritis (GCA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and Sjögren syndrome (SS). They integrated the data with mortality rates from life tables from the US population to estimate gender-specific lifetime risks.
RA is the most common inflammatory autoimmune rheumatologic disease, with lifetime risks of 3.6% and 1.7% for women and men, respectively, followed by PMR, with risks of 2.4% and 1.7%. The lifetime risks in other diseases for women and men, respectively, were GCA, 1.0% and 0.5%; SLE, 0.9% and 0.2%; PsA, 0.5% and 0.6%; SS, 0.75% and 0.04%; and AS, 0.08% and 0.63%.
The authors noted that this information may help physicians counsel patients and promote awareness of this group of diseases, ultimately improving management.