Epidemiology of rheumatic diseases in Finland in 1964-76

Scand J Rheumatol Suppl. 1982;47:5-13.


Finnish national interview surveys show that the prevalence rate of self-reported chronic rheumatic disease was 8.8% of the adult population in 1964 and 13.3% in 1976. Most of these diseases were back complaints, which also showed a rapid increase. The prevalence rate of osteoarthritis was 3.2% in 1976, and that of rheumatoid arthritis 1.2%. In 1964 45% and in 1976 more than 60% of the chronic rheumatics reported other chronic diseases as well. 10% were severely and one third slightly restricted with mobility in 1976. Also certain psychic symptoms were surprisingly common among them, and 42% used regularly analgesics. The occurrence of these diseases seems to be associated with socioeconomic changes. The prevalence rate was highest in the poorest areas with negative immigration. Of the working-aged population the diseases were commonest among agricultural workers in 1964, and among disability pensioners retired from this occupational group in 1976. Because of its magnitude and multiple problems this group has become a special challenge to the health care system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Locomotion
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / psychology
  • Social Change