Objectives The estimation of patient POV rate because of RD or any other MDG was one of the aims of a population-based epidemiological study of RD in Greece (ESORDIG study).
Methods This community based study was conducted from 1996 to 1999 (3 years) in two urban (U), one suburban (SU) and four rural (R) communities of Greece. All adult (>18 years) residents were included (8,547 subjects), along with 2,100 randomly selected subjects of 1 SU (1:3) and 1 R (1:2) communities. The study was performed by sixteen rheumatologists; 8,740 subjects were included (out of a total of 10,647, response rate 82.1%). The study included a detailed interview based on a standardised questionnaire. 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. The questionnaire included distinct questions about POV due to any disorder two weeks prior to the interview.
Results The POV rate for RD was 2.7% in the general population (GP), higher in women (3.1%) than in men (2.2%, p < 0.005); the highest POV rate was observed in the 49–58 year-group. The overall POV rate due to any disorder was 13.3% in GP; RD were the most common reason (19.9%), followed by cardiovascular diseases (CVD, 19.1%), respiratory diseases (ReD, 13.6%), and endocrine-metabolic diseases (12.5%). Analyses for age and sex showed that in the 29–58 year-groups RD were the most common reason for POV (26.3%), followed by ReD (11.5%), while in the >58 year-groups CVD were the most common (29.1% of POV), followed by RD (16.1%). No differences were observed between communities.
Conclusion These findings show that RD are the most common reason for POV (1 in 5 visits), mainly in the productively active age groups.