A health survey says that West Virginia residents have the highest rate of arthritis-related diagnoses in the nation.

The Bureau for Public Health says 37 percent of West Virginia adults have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, gout and lupus.

The 2003 data on arthritis comes from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The survey includes adults in each of the 50 states, Washington DC and three US territories.

Thirty-nine percent of West Virginia women and 35 percent of state men said they have arthritis.

State health officials cited estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that arthritis-related conditions in West Virginia cost about $750 million dollars in 1997.

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