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Global 'burden' of osteoarthritis measured

Wednesday May 13th, 2020

A new global study of osteoarthritis has found that the condition is “a major public health challenge”, with increasing rates in most countries.

Professor Anthony Woolf of Exeter Medical School, UK, and colleagues set out to report the national-level 'burden' of osteoarthritis, reporting on overall rates and years lived with disability in 195 countries from 1990 to 2017.

They used information from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study carried out in 2017.

This showed that there were 303.1 million cases of hip and knee osteoarthritis worldwide in 2017 - a rise of more than 9% since 1990. Most cases were reported in high income countries. Disability associated with the condition has risen by nearly 10% since 1990.

Rates of people newly-diagnosed with the condition rose in all regions of the world, and were particularly high in North America, Australasia, and tropical Latin America. Rates were lower in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Globally, rates of new cases were higher in women, peaking among those aged 55 to 59 years, and increased with age for both men and men.

In Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases today (13 May) the authors report “remarkable international variation in the prevalence, incidence and years lived with disability due to osteoarthritis”.

They state that: “The burden is increasing in most countries. It is expected to continue with increased life expectancy and ageing of the global population.

“Improving population and policy maker awareness of risk factors, including overweight and injury, and the importance and benefits of management of osteoarthritis, together with providing health services for an increasing number of people living with osteoarthritis, are recommended for management of the future burden of this condition.”

Safiri, S. et al. Epidemiological science: Global, regional and national burden of osteoarthritis 1990-2017: a systematic analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 13 May 2020; doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2019-216515

Tags: Rheumatology | UK News | World Health

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