Almost 40% of Americans can expect to develop hand osteoarthritis (OA) in their lifetimes, according to an analysis involving participants from an ongoing population-based, prospective cohort study.

The overall risk, 39.8%, is based on data from 2,218 eligible subjects in the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, but there is significant variation among various subgroups, said Jin Qin, ScD , of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and her associates (Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017 May 4. doi: 10.1002/art.40097).

Women have an estimated 47.2% lifetime risk – defined in the study as occurrence by age 85 years – of developing symptomatic hand OA, compared with 24.6% for men (P less than .0001). Whites have a 41.4% lifetime risk, compared with 29.2% for blacks (P = .031), the investigators reported, while those considered obese (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater) have a risk of 47.1% and the nonobese have a risk of 36.1% (P = .063).

This report is the first to estimate the lifetime risk of symptomatic hand OA, they noted, and “given the aging population and increasing life expectancy in the United States, it is reasonable to expect that more Americans will be affected by this painful and debilitating condition in the years to come.”

The study was funded by the CDC and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The investigators did not include any disclosures in the report.