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11-03-2022 | Rheumatology | News | Article

Osteoarthritis burden is increasing globally

Author: Laura Cowen

medwireNews: The number of people living with osteoarthritis (OA) worldwide has more than doubled since 1990, show data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study 2019.

Prevalence increased in nearly all of the 204 countries and territories included in the study but the rates of change, along with the sites affected, showed some variation, report Ai Guo (Capital Medical University, Beijing, China) and co-authors in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

The found that, in 2019, there were 527.81 million prevalent cases of OA globally, an increase of 113.25% from the prevalence of 247.51 million cases in 1990.

Furthermore, OA ranked 17th highest of the 369 diseases and injuries included in the GBD 2019 study in terms of prevalent cases and 19th in terms of age-standardized prevalence rates (ASRs) in 2019.

Indeed, ASRs were 6173.38 per 100,000 in 1990 and 6348.25 per 100,000 in 2019, with an estimated annual percentage change (EAPC) of 0.12%.

The prevalence was higher in women (317.44 million cases in 2019) than in men (210.37 million cases in 2019) of all ages, and greatest in those aged 60–64 years in both sexes at both time points. However, the researchers note that the greatest increase in prevalence by ages was among those aged 95 years and older where the absolute number increased almost 3.8-fold.

In addition, the rate of increase was higher in women than men overall, with EAPCs of 0.17% and 0.07%, respectively.

Guo et al note that, across countries, the ASR of OA varied more than 2.64-fold. The highest rates occurred in the USA (9960.88 per 100,000 in 2019) while the lowest rates were in Timor-Leste (3768.44 per 100,000 in 2019). Spain experienced the highest increase in ASR over time, with an EAPC of 0.63%.

The researchers also analyzed the data by OA site and found that knee OA accounted for approximately 60.6% of the total prevalent cases in 2019, followed by hand OA, other OA, and hip OA at 23.7%, 10.2%, and 5.5%, respectively.

A similar pattern was observed in most regions, with the exceptions of Eastern Europe and high-income North America where hand OA ranked first among the four categories in both 1990 and 2019.

In terms of temporal trends, the ASRs increased for knee, hip, and other joint OA, but decreased for hand OA, with EAPCs of 0.32%, 0.28%, 0.18%, and –0.36%, respectively.

Finally, the team found that there was a positive correlation between ASR and sociodemographic index for OA at each of the four sites.

Guo and co-authors say that they expect the secular trends they observed to continuing increasing, “mainly due to population ageing and the epidemic of obesity.”

They add: “Public awareness of the modifiable risk factors, and potential education programs of prevention disease occurrence are essential to alleviate the enormous burden of OA.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2022 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

Arthritis Rheumatol 2022; doi:10.1002/art.42089

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