Study finds persistently osteoarthritis burden worldwide

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  • A new study looked at the global prevalence of osteoarthritis.
  • The number of osteoarthritis cases has doubled in 29 years.
  • The disease is more common in women than men.

A new study found that the number of osteoarthritis cases has doubled in 29 years and is now a global public health concern. Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease that causes pain, disability, and loss of function.

The study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology evaluated the prevalence of the disease on regional, national and international scales. The study also took age into account.

The researchers used the Global Burden of Disease report to extract data on how common the disease is in the world. The report looked at osteoarthritis from 1990 and 2019 and made systematic assessments of age- and sex-specific incidence, prevalence, mortality, years of life lost, and disability-adjusted life-years of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries.

Skyrocketing numbers 

The study found that the number of osteoarthritis cases increased from 247.51 million in 1990 to 527.81 million in 2019. This is more than double the number of cases.

The study results also show that the prevalence of osteoarthritis increased for knee, hip, and other joints, but decreased for hands. Osteoarthritis of the knee contributed the most to the overall burden, while osteoarthritis of the hip had the highest estimated yearly increase in most regions.

The research also shows that osteoarthritis increased with age and was more common in women than men.

The researchers say that the burden of osteoarthritis needs urgent attention, and prevention measures need to be put in place.

“The secular trends are expected to be increased continually mainly due to population ageing and the epidemic of obesity. Public awareness of the modifiable risk factors and potential education programmes of prevention disease occurrence are essential to alleviate the enormous burden of osteoarthritis,” the study states.

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