Objectives To assess the prevalence of STD caused by RD or any other MDG was one of the aims of a population-based epidemiological study of RD in Greece (ESORDIG study).
Methods This 3 year (1996–1999) study included all adult (>18 years) residents of two urban (U), one suburban (SU) and four rural (R) communities of Greece (8,547 subjects), along with 2,100 randomly selected subjects of 1 SU (1:3) and 1 R (1:2) communities. Sixteen rheumatologists performed the study and 8,740 adults were included (out of a total of 10,647, response rate 82.1%). The study included a detailed interview based on a standardised questionnaire. Short term disability (STD) was defined as ?staying in bed or restriction of usual physical activities for one day or more because of a physical or mental disorder or health problem during the last 2 weeks before the interview?. Established classification criteria (ECC) were used for the diagnosis of RD, while, for the purpose of the study, such criteria were set for RD without ECC.
Results The overall prevalence of STD caused by RD was 2.8% in the general population (GP) and was significantly higher in women (3.5%) than in men (2%, p < 0.0005). Significant differences were observed between age groups: 1.5% in the 19–45 year-group, compared with 4% in the >45 year-group (p < 0.0005), while there were no differences between communities (U 2.9%, SU 2.3%, R 3%). The total prevalence of STD from all causes was 10.9% in GP; RD were the most common cause of STD (25.2%), followed by respiratory diseases (ReD, 21.2%), cardiovascular diseases (CVD, 17.1%) and gastrointestinal diseases (GI, 8.2%). Analysis for age and sex showed that RD were always the most common cause of STD, with the exception of the 19–28 year-group, where ReD were first (31%), followed by RD (12.1%) and the >68 year-group, where CVD were first (32.8%), followed by ReD (18.3%) and RD (17.6%).
Conclusion The findings of this study show that, compared with other MDG, RD are the major cause of STD in the adult GP, mainly in the middle age groups.