Scientists have found an increase in the prevalence of osteoarthritis in the world over the past 30 years

The WHO expert group on osteoarthritis GBD 2021 Osteoarthritis Collaborators analyzed the incidence worldwide over the past 30 years and presented a forecast for 2050. The global assessment was published in The Lancet Rheumatology.

Scientists analyzed the prevalence of osteoarthritis (localized in the knee, hip and hand joints) in 204 countries from 1990 to 2020. In 2020, the worldwide prevalence of the disease was 7.6%, and the total number of cases increased by 132.2%. In 2020, 14.8% of people aged 30 years and older lived with one form of osteoarthritis.

It is expected that in comparison with 2020, by 2050 the number of cases of osteoarthritis of the hip joint will increase by 78.6%, the knee joint – by 74.9%, and the joints of the hands – by 48.6%. The prevalence of other forms of osteoarthritis will increase by 95.1%.

The lowest prevalence rates of osteoarthritis are registered in the countries of Central Africa (up to 5,100 cases per 100,000 population), slightly higher in the countries of Southeast Asia and North America (5,800-6,400 per 100,000 population). The most common disease was in the USA, Australia, South America and Russia (7500-9000 per 100,000 population).

Most often, osteoarthritis affects the knee joints, and in 20% of cases, such patients had an increased body mass index. The disease-related index of years of healthy life adjusted for disability (YLD) also continues to increase (9.5% over the past 30 years).

The increasing prevalence of osteoarthritis is influenced by factors such as occupational injuries, excess body weight, mechanical stress on joints during exercise, widespread use of radiation examination methods and genetic predisposition, experts noted.

Research continues to evaluate the etiology, pathogenesis, and prevention of the disease, and the potential of new biologics to reduce the symptoms and severity of osteoarthritis is being explored.

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