Background The social impact of a disease can be related to its mortality but also to the prevalence and disability associated. In osteoarthritis (OA), pain, joint limitation and overall disability are the main components of its social and individual impact.
Objectives To evaluate the impact of self-reported OA and to study its correlation with several clinical and socio-demographics factors.
Methods Observational, population-based, cross-sectional study was conducted in mainland Portugal by Eurotrials Consultants, between September and October 2011, by random route. Citizens aged ≥45 years who agreed to participate completed a survey in home interviews including socio-demographics and presence of OA. Prevalent cases of OA were characterized regarding treatment, comorbidities, impact of OA (VAS 0-10, none to higher impact), pain of OA (VAS 0-10, no pain to worse pain), patient’s perception of importance of OA given by current physician (VAS 0-10, none to higher importance), disability due to OA (VAS 0-10, none to maximum disability) and health status (SF-12 v2.0®; physical and mental health, 0 no health - 100 better health). Spearman correlation coefficient (r) was calculated
Results A representative sample of 1039 participants completed the screening survey. About 54% were female, mean age of 62 years (range: 45-99), average of 7 school-years, 18% obese (body mass index ≥30 kg/m2) and 77% retired (0.8% due to OA).
OA was self-reported by 9.9% of participants (95% CI 8.1-11.7%), 92% of those with OA diagnosis confirmed by x-ray (self-reported). In this population, the score for OA impact averaged 6.1. The mean score for mental and physical health was 45.9 and 38.5, respectively. About 30% of OA cases referred previous sick leave or temporarily work stop due to OA (absenteeism varied between 3 days and 3 years). 41.4% of OA participants had to change from job activity, 34.5% had to change the way their occupational tasks were done and 10.3% had to stop working definitely. OA had a higher impact in participants which had already been in sick leave or temporarily had to stop working due to OA (8.1 vs 6.0; p=0.001). Impact of OA showed to be associated with physical (r=-0.582; p<0.001) and mental health (r=-0.460; p<0.001) and severity of the disease (r=0.506; p<0.001).
Conclusions OA is related in our study to a low psychological but even lower physical outcome in the SF-12. Sick leave was present in almost a third of the cases and work adjustments or change of occupation was even more relevant. One in ten patients had to stop working due to OA. In an ageing population that has to work more years than before, we have to take in to account that disease can influence the work productivity and performance and that OA is a serious issue as an occupational and as an overall economic burden to the society.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared