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Veterans are more likely to develop arthritis than civilians, according to an October 2018 study. Other studies indicate that osteoarthritis is the second-leading cause of military discharge, behind combat wounds.
Arthritis encompasses over 100 diseases, including mechanical (or degenerative) and inflammatory ones, the latter of which involves immune-system disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, according to Edgerton.
Service members who suffer knee injuries while deployed are at an increased risk of developing arthritis, he said. One recent study found that one in five military members with a knee injury developed radiographic arthritis before age 30.
For perspective, the CDMRP allocated $130 million for breast cancer research in 2019.
Arthritis was listed in the Army’s 2018 Medical Research and Material Command medical research program as an area of interest. However, arthritis research only received slightly more than $6 million in funding.