Background Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered to be the most prevalent rheumatic disease. Its prevalence can be determined in studies considering self-reported information that in many studies can be quite accurate compared to studies with evaluation by physicians (70-80%).
Objectives To determine and characterize the prevalence of self-reported OA in the Portuguese population over 45 years old.
Methods Observational, population-based, cross-sectional study 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 sociodemographics and presence of OA. Prevalent cases of OA were characterized regarding treatment, comorbidities, impact and pain of OA (VAS 0-10), patient’s perception of importance of OA given by current physician (VAS 0-10), disability due to OA (VAS 0-10) and health status (SF-12 v2.0®; physical and mental health, 0 no health - 100 better health).
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). On average, participants reported OA in 3 different localizations (range: 1-11): 6.3% knees, 5.5% hands, 3.1% feet, 2.7% lumbar spine, 2.2% ankles/hip, 1.8% shoulders, 1.5% elbows, 1.2% neck and 0.9% thoracic spine. OA was diagnosed at a mean age of 52 years (range: 20-85 years) with a mean disease duration of 13 years (range: 1-56). About 95% of OA cases were being treated. More common therapeutic approaches were NSAIDS (42%), NSAIDS + analgesics (20%) and NSAIDS + analgesics + condroprotective drugs (17%). More than half of OA participants were being followed by a general practitioner (58%) and less than a fifth by a rheumatologist (17%). Identical estimates were obtained when considering who made the diagnosis (general practitioner 63%, rheumatologist 18%). We found some regional differences with a higher OA prevalence in north than in south of Portugal.
Conclusions We found that almost 10% of the Portuguese population self-reported having OA, mostly involving knees, hands and feet. Participants reported on average 3 locations of OA. Because of its prevalence, OA is mainly diagnosed and treated by general practitioners. Almost all participants that reported OA are currently being treated.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared