Burden of rheumatoid arthritis in the Nordic region, 1990-2015: a comparative analysis using the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

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OBJECTIVE: To report mortality and disability due to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the Nordic region (Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2015.

METHOD: Using the results of GBD 2015, we present rates and trends in prevalence, mortality, years of life lost, years lived with disability (YLD), and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) of RA in the Nordic region during 1990-2015.

RESULTS: In 2015, the age-standardized prevalence of RA was higher in the Nordic region than the global level (0.44%, 95% uncertainty interval 0.40-0.48%, vs 0.35%, 0.32-0.38%). For women (men), DALYs increased by 2.4% (12.9%), from 29 263 (10 909) in 1990 to 29 966 (12 311) in 2015. The burden of RA as a proportion of total DALYs in women (men) increased from 0.90% (0.29%) in 1990 to 0.94% (0.36%) in 2015. Age-standardized DALY rates declined in all countries except Denmark and Greenland between 1990 and 2015. Of 315 conditions studied, RA was ranked as the 16th (37th) leading cause of YLD in women (men) in the region. Of 195 countries studied, Greenland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland had the 7th, 11th, 28th, 38th, 48th, and 78th highest age-standardized YLD rates for RA, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of RA in the Nordic region is higher than the global average. Current trends in population growth and ageing suggest a potential increase in RA burden in the coming decades in the region that should be considered in healthcare resources allocation.


External organisations
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Boston University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-101
JournalScandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number2
Early online date2017 Aug 2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 4
Publication categoryResearch

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